BWL replaces last active lead service line in Lansing

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – “We are lead free in Lansing,” Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero said excitedly.

For the last 12 years, the Lansing Board of Water and Light has worked to remove all active lead water service lines in the city.

It’s a massive project that started back in 2004 and ended today as crews dug up the last pipe.

“12,150 lead pipes removed…no more lead services in the city of Lansing,” BWL General Manager Dick Peffley stated.

The project cost more than $44-million.

Peffley says it was spurred by lawmakers who looked into the city’s infrastructure and how it was built on lead pipes.

“I said well we feed it corrosion control it’s very unlikely but they just thought that risk was still too high and so they talked with our board of commissioners and the board of commissioners directed management let’s get the lead out,” said Peffley.

And that’s what they did.

Now, Lansing is just the second city in the country ever to replace all of its aging lead pipes.

“There is no safe level for lead and so we recognized that, we acted on it here in Lansing and I think other communities can move forward and learn from this,” Mayor Bernero stated.

The city of Flint however, already learned the hard way exactly what lead pipes can do as that city deals with lead tainted drinking water.

Peffley says the city of Lansing is working with Flint as officials there now face a similar project.

“We’ve reached out and helped anybody that’s asked because this is the right thing to do,” said Peffley.

Meanwhile, Mayor Virg Bernero is happy the city of Lansing didn’t wait until there was a problem here.

“We’ve got to pay attention to our infrastructure…what’s under the ground can hurt you just because it’s out of sight, it should not be out of mind,” Mayor Bernero added.

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