Nadeau Introduces Bill to Help Low Income Residents Replace Lead Pipes - Office of Councilmember Brianne K. Nadeau
With majority Council support, today Ward 1 DC Councilmember Brianne Nadeau introduced the Lead Pipe Replacement and Disclosure Amendment Act of 2017 to help low-income residents replace lead private service lines on their property as well as disclose lead risk to homebuyers and renters.
Lead Pipe Replacement and Disclosure Amendment Act of 2017
The "Lead Pipe Replacement and Disclosure Amendment Act of 2017" was introduced by Councilmember Brianne Nadeau with co-introducers Councilmembers Silverman, Bonds, Cheh, Robert White, Jr., Grosso, Todd, Allen and Gray.
The District has been grappling with lead in our drinking water for years. Since 2003, DC Water has been working in neighborhoods replacing lead main water lines. At that time, homeowners are asked if they would like an estimate to replace their service line on private property. The response rate depends heavily on the estimated income of the neighborhood with low income neighborhoods often unlikely to respond to literature left by DC Water.
Because even partial lead pipe exposure can lead to delays in the mental development of children and be especially dangerous to pregnant women and formula-fed babies, it is imperative to encourage full line replacements.
The “Lead Pipe Replacement and Disclosure Amendment Act of 2017” would accomplish the following:
- Establish a Voucher Program for homeowners as another tool to help low-income families replace their lead service line pipes leading to the main shut off valve in the home.
- It would give 100% assistance to those who earn under 50% of the Area Median Income (AMI);
- And 60% assistance to those who earn between 50-80% AMI;
- Up to $800 would be available per household so we can lend assistance to the greatest number of households, particularly low-income households.
- The Mayor would be required to provide adequate notice of the Voucher Program as well as a community liaison to inform residents of the risk of only partial lead pipe replacement and associated health risks.
- Landlords would be required to disclose the usage of any known lead pipes to tenants.
- Homeowners would be required to disclose the existence of known lead pipes to prospective buyers.
It costs homeowners $500 for DC Water to penetrate the wall of the home to replace the private lead service line to the home’s shut off valve and then $100 per foot to connect it to the main public service line if the replacement is done at the time DC Water is replacing the main lead service line. Homeowners must agree to a contract to pay DC Water for the replacement service. If a homeowner choses to replace the private lead service line after DC Water has been through the area, they are charged the $500 penetration fee and then $125 per foot to connect to the public service line. Because the city often owns most of what people consider their private front yard leading to the water meter, the actual private pipes can be as little as a foot or so of lead pipe that a homeowner would be responsible for replacing.
Homeowners need better tools to help understand the risks of lead in the water and the dangers of partial lead pipe replacement and the right financial resources to actually replace the private lead service line. This legislation helps us keep our promise to inform and protect our most vulnerable from the dangers posed by lead in our water.
(Photo courtesy DC Water.)