Elkhart to remove lead-based water service lines

Associated Press

Elkhart, Ind. — The city of Elkhart is taking steps to remove water service lines that are made of lead-based metals to avoid a situation like the one in Flint, Michigan.

The Lead Education And Disposal (LEAD) program approved by the Board of Public Works has received more than $299,000 to identify lead service lines and replace the city’s portion of those lines, The Elkhart Truth reported.

There are more than 20,000 water service lines throughout the northern Indiana city, and Elkhart utilities manager Laura Kolo said in February that she suspects around 147 service lines are lead-based.

The city’s LEAD program will hire two additional full-time employees to locate residences and businesses that are being served by lead-based lines.

Once the city finishes the identification process, it will devise a plan to replace the city-owned lines.

Mayor Tim Neese said Elkhart is taking a “proactive … approach” to protect its residents.

“There is no current mandate to remove lead service lines or provide community education programs. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent to states and municipalities that additional legislation is likely to be pursed at the federal level,” Neese said.

Results of the tested water supply are expected next month. The last report in 2013 showed lead levels to be at 5.8 parts per billion, which is lower than the federally mandated limit for action of 15 parts per billion.

Elkhart hasn’t had previous issues with lead.