Jun 17, 2023
NUPU looks to get the lead out…of pipes
Aug 4, 2023 A diagram posted within the city’s online water line reporting form identifies the different parts. The city is looking for a photo of the scratch area to identify the pipe’s material. NEW
Aug 4, 2023
A diagram posted within the city’s online water line reporting form identifies the different parts. The city is looking for a photo of the scratch area to identify the pipe’s material.
NEW ULM– New Ulm wants to know what your water pipes are made of to help make the city’s water safer.
The city is asking for help from the public by submitting basic information a photo of their water pipes to https://forms.ci.new-ulm.mn.us/Forms/leadandcoppersurvey. Submitting your information allows the city to make a detailed map of the city’s water pipes and identify where lead pipes exist.
Energy Services Representative Derek Nelson said the city has been replacing their lead service lines and broken lead pipes since the early 2000’s. Collecting information from private homeowners and businesses is a new program made possible by the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), signed by President Joe Biden in November 2021.
“The IIJA made this a more aggressive procedure to get these lead service lines out of communities,” Nelson said. “Federal money is being distributed to individual states and those states then distribute that money to the cities. Minnesota will have $43.1 million per year for five years distributed to different communities to get this corrected.”
Nelson explained what the plan currently entails and what will be happening in the future.
“What’s started now is getting inventory to find out how much is out there. From there, people they find have lead service lines will be notified within 30 days once inventory has been collected and data has been sent to the State. The next step is to come up with a plan to ultimately remove all lead service lines.”
Nelson said private owners will currently not be forced to remove their lead pipes when they submit their information into the form. If they do wish to have them removed, they can request an evaluation when they fill out the form. While it is unknown at this time, Nelson believes the state could cover the costs of having the line removed.
Why fill out the form if you know your pipes are not made with lead? Nelson says it would make it easier to find where there are lead pipes.
“If [they’re made of] galvanized [steel] we need to know,” he said. “Up until the mid-80s there was still lead solder and fittings used within those pipes. The state is having us report that as a lead pipe. If it’s neither lead or galvanized we still need to know. If they don’t send us that information it goes in the report as an unknown. It will skew the reporting process. It’s really great regardless of what material you have to help us out as a community [by reporting it].”
While there is not a set close date for the form, the city needs to have its findings to the state by October 16, 2024. Nelson urges people to submit their information as quickly as possible. For those who have lead pipes, he has tips to make your water safer.
“The best thing you can do is to not use water from the water heater for cooking,” Nelson said. That water has been going through the piping and sitting in a water heater. Don’t use that for cooking. If you’re going to use the cold water, let it run for a few minutes. Let the water that’s been sitting in your pipes go down the drain to draw water directly from the water main. If you’re drawing the water from the main it should be lead free.”
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