Sep 12, 2008

District of Columbia Revises Lead Service Replacement Project

D.C. Water & Sewer Authority Board of Directors approved modification of the project because of improved water chemistry

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority Board of Directors recently approved a significant modification of the Lead Service Replacement (LSR) Policy to encourage full service line replacements and to manage costs (the service line is the pipe that carries water from the main in the street to the home).

Under the newly structured LSR program:

• Lead lines in public space (between the main and the property line) will continue to be replaced with copper pipe in conjunction with DC WASA’s ongoing water main replacement projects;

• In coordination with the District Department of Transportation street paving schedule, DC WASA will replace the public portion of a lead line only when the customer agrees to have the private side replaced or if that side is already non-lead; and

• Where a customer is replacing the private portion of a lead service line, at the customer’s request, DC WASA will replace the public side of the lead line with funds budgeted for this purpose.

Before this action, Board policy mandated the replacement of all of the approximate 35,000 known public lead service lines in the District of Columbia by 2016 at an estimated cost of $400 million. This accelerated program began in 2004 when elevated lead levels were found in tap water samples at some District homes. However, for the last three and a half years, following a change in water chemistry, District drinking water has met federal limits for lead and is in full compliance with all U.S. Safe Drinking Water Act regulations.

“In a cost-benefit and impact analysis of the LSR program we have consulted experts from the Centers for Disease Control, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, George Washington University Center for Public Health, as well as local health officials and the public,” said General Manager Jerry N. Johnson. “We are providing clean and safe drinking water, and it’s time we re-evaluated the pace of the program given several years of experience and other water and sewer infrastructure needs throughout the District.”