Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive directive Monday ordering state agencies to ready plans to quickly replace lead pipes using an influx of federal dollars from the new Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Parker James writes, “No amount of lead exposure is safe, especially for children. In addition to lead in the water, lead paint in older housing stock and even lead in the ground from paint and gasoline remnants also pose danger. The damaging effects of lead exposure are well documented, and lead contamination in water plays a significant role in overall lead poisonings. Lead poisoning causes harm to brain development and can result in a range of mental and physical health conditions. For these reasons, addressing lead has been and remains a priority for advocates of children and families, including the Michigan League for Public Policy and our Kids Count in Michigan Project.”
Benton Harbor Mayor Marcus Muhammad traveled to Lansing last month to ask state lawmakers for the $11.4 million that’s needed to replace his city’s aging pipes that have left about 10,000 residents unable to drink their tap water because of elevated levels of lead.
Water and sewer rates in the City of Three Rivers are expected to increase in 2021-2022 as a result of unfunded mandates from the state related to lead water lines and water treatment, as well as local infrastructure projects slated for the next couple of years.