Homeowners can receive subsidy from city
By Bert Lehman
Clintonville homeowners may receive up to $2,000 to replace lead water lines leading to their property.
During the summer, the council approved spending $10,000 to apply for a Department of Natural Resources grant to help property owners with the cost of replacing lead water lines on their property. The city was ultimately approved for a $300,000 grant.
Dave Tichinel, Water and Wastewater manager for the city, said the $10,000 to apply for the grant will come from the $300,000, as well as around $5,000 for time and work done by city employees on the project. The remaining $285,000 has to be used by homeowners in the city to help cover the cost of replacing the lead water lines on their property.
“The city cannot use that for anything on the city’s side,” Tichinel said. “[The city] applied for this for the homeowners to help them out. After this money is gone, I can’t promise that there will ever be money available to the homeowners again.”
At the Dec. 13 Clintonville City Council meeting, the council approved homeowners in the city to receive up to $2,000 for lead line replacement. This figure was based on survey results received back from homeowners.
The survey was sent to homeowners with their electric bill around two months ago, with the intent of finding out how many homeowners have lead water lines. The city has received just under half of the survey results back, and found that there are 68 residences in the city that have lead water lines. Based on that, the city is estimating that there are around a total of 140 residences that have lead water lines.
Tichinel encourages homeowners who haven’t tested to see if they have lead water lines to do the test as soon as possible, or to contact Clintonville City Hall to have someone from the city come to the residence to do the test. Directions on how to do the test were included in the mailing.
He added that this is the best time to find out if a residence has lead water lines because there is money available to help offset the cost of replacing those lines. Once the city signs the paperwork with the DNR for this grant, the grant money will be available for two years, with no guarantee it will ever be available in the future.
Tichinel said he has also been informed by the DNR that the Environmental Protection Agency will create a law soon that states all lead water lines need to be replaced. This is another reason to do the replacement now, when some funds are available.
The water line from the shutoff into the house is the responsibility of the homeowner. It is the replacement of that line that homeowners are eligible for up to $2,000 for replacement if the line is a lead line. The city owns the water line from the shutoff to the main line.
If a residence has a lead water line that needs to be replaced, and the city’s portion leading up to that line is also lead, the city also needs to replace the lead lines it is responsible for, Tichinel said.
“The one thing I don’t want is the customer thinking they have to pay all the costs to replace their line,” Tichinel said. “I want them to be truthful about what’s in their basement because there is money available to help them now.”
Tichinel said most of the city’s water lines are lead free, but there are some areas like North Main Street where the water lines haven’t been replaced since 1911. Those will be replaced next summer when North Main Street is reconstructed. There are a few other areas in the city that have lead water lines, but the city has a plan to replace them
For those homeowners who have lead water lines, Tichinel is planning to host an informational meeting in January to discuss the process to get those lines replaced.
He said homeowners will be responsible for contacting one of the three licensed plumbers who are certified to do the work as part of the grant. Homeowners will work directly with the plumbers to schedule the work and negotiate the price of the work.