Gov. Walz signs lead pipe replacement bill

(ABC 6 News) – A bill to create grants to remove and replace lead pipes across Minnesota is now law.

Governor Tim Walz signed the legislation during a ceremony at a water treatment plant in St. Paul on Tuesday afternoon. Gov. Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan were joined by legislators, labor and environmental advocates, and representatives from Greater Minnesota to celebrate the bill signing.

The bill, HF 24, which had bipartisan support, provides $240 million to the Public Facilities Authority to establish a grant program for replacing water service lines containing lead.

The following groups will be eligible to receive the grants: community public water suppliers of a community water system, municipalities, suppliers of other residential drinking water systems; and anyone eligible for grants or loans under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

“Safe, clean drinking water is a foundational human need – and it is long past time we make it a reality for all Minnesotans,” said Gov. Walz. “By investing in lead pipe replacement across the state, we’re taking the burden off families and homeowners and improving the health and safety of Minnesotans in every corner of the state. This is how we build a safer, cleaner future for our children and grandchildren.”

The Minnesota Department of Health estimates there are about 100,000 water service lines in the state leaching lead into the drinking water flowing through them. Coming in contact with lead can damage the brain, kidneys, and nervous system. In children, lead can also slow development or cause learning, behavior, and hearing problems.