Water Bill To Include Lead-in-water Safety And Lead Laterals Info Adopted By Milwaukee Common Council Water Works Committee

City water bills for Milwaukee residents will include information about lead-in-water safety inserts and dissemination of other lead-related information, according to a resolution passed by the Milwaukee Common Council Water Works Committee.

By H. Nelson Goodson
Hispanic News Network U.S.A.

March 8, 2018

Milwaukee, WI – On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Common Water Works Committee passed a resolution (171523) for Milwaukee City water bills to include information about lead-in-water safety inserts and dissemination of other lead-related information for residents. The City water bill will also include whether the City-own portion of the freshwater lateral line service flow connected to properties from the water main are made of lead and will definitely improve transparency in lead-related testing.
Also the Water Works Committee passed a resolution (171538) to replace drinking water service lines to all City-owned properties. This resolution directs the Department of City Development to develop and implement a program to replace lead drinking water service lines in all City-owned, one to 4-unit residential properties, except properties scheduled for demolition.
The resolutions will be taken up by the full Common Council on March 27 for approval.
Wisconsin State Senator Lena C. Taylor (D-Milw.) on Wednesday confirmed that she is working on a final draft of a bill as an Adverse Material Fact to mandate property owners and Realtors in the state to include and disclose whether properties being sold have toxic lead laterals connected to city or municipality freshwater mains.
Robert Miranda from the Freshwater For Life Action Coalition (FLAC) who is advocating for removal of all lead laterals within the city spoke at a Townhall meeting on Wednesday and says, that the City of Milwaukee banned the use of toxic lead laterals in 1962, but the U.S. Department of the Interior banned the use in 1986, so for decades Milwaukee officials knew that using lead laterals was a hazard for those drinking water from the freshwater flow into homes.
In the City of Milwaukee Water Department Rules, Regulations and Penalties dating 1872, the City mandated for lead laterals to be connected from the City’s water main and in 1921 the Common Council passed a resolution making lead laterals extra thick, which extended to the inside of buildings including residential properties and the practice lasted until 1951, laterals were later changed to copper and other non-toxic materials, indicating that the City owned the lead laterals.
Today, when a lead lateral is replaced from a property to the city watermain, the property owner can face a cost of up to $5,000 for removal.

Number
171523
Version
SUBSTITUTE 2
Reference
170523
Sponsor

ALD. ZIELINSKI

Title

Substitute resolution relating to Milwaukee Water Works water bill lead-in-water safety inserts and dissemination of other lead-related information.

Analysis

This resolution directs the Milwaukee Water Works to mail lead-in-water safety information on an annual basis to occupants of all buildings served by City-owned lead service lines, and to ensure that this and lead-in-water safety information included with City water bills meet the same standards that the Health Department is held to for providing ongoing community updates to the public related to lead safety.

The Water Works is also directed to allow City departments and non-profit entities to sponsor secondary lead-in-water and lead public education materials for inclusion with all City water bills on a semi-annual basis.

This resolution also directs the Milwaukee Water Works to identify, on every City water bill, whether the City-owned portion of the service line serving the premises being billed is made of lead, and to make publicly available the details of all lead-related testing, monitoring and control treatments conducted by the Milwaukee Water Works.

Body

Whereas, Lead exposure poses a significant threat to public health and safety, with infants, young children, and pregnant women being at the greatest risk of adverse health impacts from lead exposure; and

Whereas, Milwaukee Water Works regularly tests Lake Michigan source water, treated water from Milwaukee water treatment plants, and distribution system water, including tap water, for the presence of lead; and

Whereas, Lead service lines and plumbing can introduce lead into tap water; and

Whereas, Approximately 74,600 properties in the city, including 68,300 residential properties comprising 54.2% of all residential properties in the city, receive water through City-owned lead service lines, and according to the Milwaukee Water Works, a property with City-owned lead service lines is likely to also have privately-owned lead service lines; and

Whereas, The City of Milwaukee recognizes that all residents of the community need access to information on how best to protect themselves and their children from lead in drinking water; and

Whereas, Under Common Council File No. 170253, the Milwaukee Water Works was directed to incorporate lead-in-water and lead public education materials with City water bills on a semi-annual basis; and

Whereas, More recently, under Common Council File No. 170131, the Health Department was directed to provide ongoing community updates to the public with an expanded identification of at-risk populations and recommendations for lead safety; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, By the Common Council of the City of Milwaukee, that the Milwaukee Water Works is directed to mail lead-in-water and lead public education materials on an annual basis to occupants of all buildings served by City-owned lead service lines; and, be it

Further Resolved, That lead-in-water and lead public education materials mailed to occupants of buildings served by City-owned lead service lines or included with City water bills shall meet the same standards that the Health Department is held to for providing ongoing community updates to the public related to lead safety under Common Council File No. 170131; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works shall update all lead-in-water and drinking water safety initiatives, websites, social media messaging, printed materials, outdoor and media advertisements and campaigns under the authority of the Milwaukee Water Works to meet the same standards; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works shall ensure that the use of water filtration systems certified to remove lead according to NSF/ANSI Standard 53 is promoted to the public as the most thorough means of lead-water safety; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works shall include, in any discussion of flushing drinking water by running taps, a warning to the public of the risk of lead exposure from failing to adhere to flushing guidelines; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works is directed to allow City departments and non-profit entities to sponsor secondary lead-in-water and lead public education materials for inclusion with all City water bills on a semi-annual basis; and, be it

Further Resolved, That these secondary lead-in-water and lead public education materials may include information about at-risk populations, the benefits of healthy eating to reduce the effects of lead poisoning, how to identify lead in internal plumbing fixtures, options for testing tap water for the presence of lead, information about NSF/ANSI certified lead filters, information about the importance of following installation and maintenance guidelines for lead-removing filters, or information about City programs that provide lead-removing filters or assistance in replacing lead service lines or internal plumbing; and, be it

Further Resolved, That secondary lead-in-water and lead public education materials incorporated with City water bills shall be limited in size to a single one-third page insert to be included no more than twice annually, are subject to review and approval by the Commissioner of Health and the Superintendent of the Milwaukee Water Works, shall be funded by the requesting entity, and shall be permitted only to the extent that inclusion of the secondary insert does not cause the City water bill to exceed postage and mailing size restrictions set by the Milwaukee Water Works; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works shall identify, on every City water bill, whether the City-owned portion of the service line serving the premises being billed is made of lead; and, be it

Further Resolved, That the Milwaukee Water Works shall make publicly available the details of all lead-related testing, monitoring and control treatments conducted by the Water Works on Lake Michigan source water, treated water from Milwaukee water treatment plants and tap water, including site selection and sampling protocols, the date of construction of sampled sites, the presence of lead service lines at sampled sites, dates of collection, disclosure of invalidated samples and reasons for invalidation, testing results and the details of lead-related corrosion control treatments.

Requestor

Drafter
LRB170556-4
Dana J. Zelazny
March 6, 2018

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