St. Cloud Already Working to Start Water Line Replacement Program
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St. Cloud Already Working to Start Water Line Replacement Program

Dec 28, 2023

(KNSI) – The recently passed Lead and Copper Act will provide a grant through the Minnesota Department of Health to help replace old water lines.

Local ordinance says the homeowner is responsible for the small service pipes that start at the curb and head inside. The city covers the large mains that travel along roads like Cooper and Wilson Avenues. Private and public lines are both covered under the new law.

St. Cloud Assistant Public Utilities Director Lisa Vollbrecht says one Minnesota city will be an inspiration for local replacement efforts.

"St Paul is a little bit ahead of the game so we probably will model after them. They have crews that…that's what they do. They go out and say, ‘Here's the lead service lines we’re taking out this year,’ and when construction season starts they have at it.

Vollbrecht says lines have to be buried deep in Minnesota and the construction season is short, which hampers efforts here to complete the job. She is meeting with MDH on Monday for more clarification on how the reimbursement process will work.

The city of St. Cloud is required to have a complete inventory of what its pipes are made of by 2024. Vollbrecht says lead is actually one of the lesser threats locally.

"So far, we have found one true lead service line. The interesting part if you dig into the bill…quite a bit of it applies to galvanized. I want to say we have probably 1000 galvanized in the city."

Galvanized refers to steel pipes that have been dipped in a zinc compound to reinforce them.

Vollbrecht doubts financial assistance to homeowners to replace service lines will be available until next year. She says pipes today are usually made of copper, or even plastic.


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