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Minnesota House Unanimously Approves Funding for Lead Pipe Replacement

Friday, April 21, 2023

St. Paul, MN - Today, the Minnesota House of Representatives passed House File 24, a priority bill for the House DFL Caucus, which funds the replacement of lead service lines throughout the state. The bill, authored by State Representative Sydney Jordan (DFL - Minneapolis), invests $240 million while unlocking additional federal dollars for this endeavor. 

The legislation passed on a bipartisan vote of 123-0. 

“No amount of exposure to lead is safe,” said Rep. Jordan. “This is an issue impacting every corner of our state, and it’s an issue where the solution is far less expensive than the cost of doing nothing. With federal funds at the ready, now is the time to act and begin the comprehensive process of replacing our lead pipes, creating a healthier Minnesota.”

The bill creates a grant program administered by the Public Facilities Authority, with the goal to replace all lead lines in public drinking water systems by 2033. In addition to the $240 million allocated from the state’s general fund, the bill unlocks funds from the federal Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act passed in late 2021, providing $43.3 million per year for five years to help Minnesota homeowners get the lead out of their drinking water.

“All Minnesotans should have access to clean, safe drinking water,” said Speaker Hortman. “Exposure to lead causes health problems, especially for children. This bill is an important investment in public health. I’m grateful to Representative Sydney Jordan for her tireless efforts on this legislation.”

Lead exposure is particularly harmful to children, causing reduced IQ, affecting language development and attention span, and increasing aggression and impulsivity. When a person swallows or breathes in lead particles, the body stores the toxin in the blood, bones, and tissues where it accumulates over time. In addition, prolonged exposure for both children and adults can damage the brain and nervous system, reduce fertility, and increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease and cancer.

Eligible recipients for grant funds include public water suppliers of a community water system, municipalities, suppliers of other residential drinking water systems, and any applicant eligible for loans and grants under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Private wells are not covered by this grant program.

The eligible uses of these funds include removing and replacing lead water lines, construction related to removal and replacement, providing information to residents on the benefits of removing lead lines, and repaying debt incurred for these uses. Grant money can be used to pay for 100% of the cost of replacing privately owned lead lines, and up to 50% of those lines that are publicly owned.

More information on the bill can be found here. Video of today’s floor debate can be found on the House Public Information YouTube page