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Detroit receives $100M grant to replace lead service

(CBS DETROIT) - The city of Detroit received a $100 million grant to replace lead service lines over the next three years with more funding on the way.

Lead service lines are what carry treated water from the public water main to the house. The Michigan Lead & Copper Rule requires all lead service lines to be replaced over the next 20 years. Detroit Water and Sewage Department Director Gary Brown says that the grant will allow the department to "dramatically" speed up the replacement of an estimated 80,000 lead service lines in the city at no additional cost to customers.

Currently DWSD replaces lead service lines while on the same street replacing the water main. The additional funding will allow the utility to replace individual service lines outside of DWSD's capital improvement program. Brown said that the amount of funding means DWSD will be able to drive up its current program from 700 replacements per year to at least 5,000 over the next three years. 

Brown said DWSD will use predictive modeling, confirmed service line data, and residents who place their home on the wait list to cluster replacements by council district to make efficient use of the dollars.

The $100M for Detroit's Lead Service Line Replacement Program is as follows:

  • $75M American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds through Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE)
  • $10M Michigan Drinking Water State Revolving Funds (DWSRF)
  • $5M Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) WIIN grant
  • $10M DWSD Capital Improvement Program

Brown said that much more revenue will be needed to replace all the estimated 80,000 lead service lines in Detroit and his staff is currently pursuing additional funding sources.

"With an existing and robust lead service line replacement program, we have the ability to dramatically accelerate our work based with this new funding," said Gary Brown, DWSD director. "We thank our federal and state partners for providing the bulk of the funding. We've said for the past four years, we cannot put the cost on the backs of our ratepayers outside funding is essential to replace the lines."

DWSD has 100% compliance with residents or adult occupants allowing it to replace the full lead service line since access to the home is required. This is largely due to a comprehensive community outreach effort that begins at least 40 days in advance of construction.

To add your home to the program's waitlist, go to

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