Walz highlights plan to replace lead pipes across Minnesota

(ABC 6 News)- Governor Tim Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan visited a home in Saint Paul to highlight their $240 million proposal to replace lead pipes across Minnesota.

Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Flanagan were joined by legislators, union workers, and representatives from the St. Paul Regional Water Service Board, Conservation Minnesota, and Coalition for Greater Minnesota Cities.

“No matter where you live, we’re making investments that will improve your quality of life,” said Governor Walz. “Our proposal will fund local projects to identify and replace lead pipes across the state at no cost to families and homeowners. Minnesotans deserve to know where their water comes from and that it is safe and healthy.”

“No amount of lead is safe for people, and no Minnesotan should be exposed to lead through their drinking water,” said Lieutenant Governor Flanagan. “Investments in lead pipe mapping and replacement are investments in the health and safety of all Minnesotans, especially our mothers and children. We can live in a state that provides safe, clean water for everyone.”

“Clean water starts with safe drinking water. Yet thousands of Minnesotans still receive their drinking water from aging and unsafe lead water lines,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota. “A person’s zip code shouldn’t negatively impact their health. Investing in the inventory and replacement of these dangerous lines will help address the disproportional burden lead lines present for our low-income neighborhoods and protect the health and wellbeing of Minnesota children.”

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.