Kalamazoo, Mich., receives $1 million grant to replace lead water lines

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (UC) — The city of Kalamazoo has been awarded a $1 million grant to support the continuation of a proactive annual capital improvement program to replace lead service lines that have been in place for more than 20 years, MLive Michigan reported on Tuesday.

“Safe drinking water has been one of my top concerns in Congress,” U.S. Rep. Fred Upton told the media company. “I was pleased to help the city of Kalamazoo secure this funding that will improve water quality for residents and other customers in the community.”

Since 2018, the city has replaced over 500 non-copper water services each year, with over 900 replaced in 2021. Lead service replacements in Kalamazoo are paid for by utility customers, the State of Michigan's Drinking Water Revolving Fund, and the Kalamazoo Foundation for Excellence.

The North Kalamazoo project will benefit approximately 2,000 households and businesses in Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo Township. A total of $20 million is being invested to replace all lead service lines in the designated area, with work expected to be completed by 2024.

According to Upton, Kalamazoo's public water system is the largest groundwater-based drinking water system in Michigan. The groundwater itself does not contain lead; however, lead can enter drinking water when it comes into contact with lead-containing pipes, solder, interior plumbing, fittings, and fixtures. According to Upton, approximately 7,000 non-copper services will need to be replaced by 2022.


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