This memo analyzes the viability of complete lead service line (LSL) replacement through a combination of state grants and increased water fees. The City of Eau Claire’s strategy involved three components:
- Obtained state grants to partially reimburse homeowners for the cost of replacing the private portion of the LSL.
- Change to WI State Law to authorize water utilities to pay for private portion of LSLs.
- Change WI State Law to allow water utilities to increase water rates to pay for full LSL replacement.
The City had limited success with property owners taking advantage of the state reimbursement of private LSLs, but recently increased the reimbursement amount from $1,000 to $2,000 and is seeing increased replacements. The State allows cities to cover up to 50% of the cost of private side replacement, or they may set a specific dollar amount for each class of customer. The City is currently working on an ordinance to require replacement of LSLs paired with increased funding through increased water fees to continue replacement when State funds are exhausted.