St. Paul, MN - Today, the House Capital Investment Committee held an informational hearing focused on legislation and presentations on the status of Minnesota’s lead service lines and the need to replace them. In addition to hearing testimony on Rep. Sydney Jordan’s (DFL - Minneapolis) HF 2650 and Rep. Patty Acomb’s (DFL - Minnetonka) HF 3003, the committee also received presentations from the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA) and the Minnesota Department of Health.
“During the State of the Union, President Biden addressed the dire need to replace lead pipes throughout the nation, and Minnesota is no exception.” said Rep. Fue Lee (DFL - Minneapolis), Chair of the House Capital Investment Committee. “Everyone deserves clean drinking water in their homes and schools, and from the testimony we heard today, it’s clear we need to provide communities across the state with the resources to not only replace lead pipes, but also the tools to adequately map out existing lead service lines.”
The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act appropriates a total of $668 million over five years for water infrastructure through PFA State Revolving Funds, including $43.1 million a year for lead service line replacement. An estimated 260,000 or more lead service lines carry drinking water to Minnesotans. Lead is particularly harmful to children, causing reduced IQ, language development and attention span, and increased aggression and impulsivity. 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.
“No amount of exposure to lead is safe, yet lead pipes - one of the most common sources of lead contact - are used in every community across the state,” said Rep. Jordan. “My legislation establishes a grant program to help cities replace their lead service lines while prioritizing low-income, disproportionately impacted areas.”
Rep. Jordan’s legislation establishes a grant program under PFA to replace all residential lead service lines in Minnesota by 2032. Grants are available to cities to pay up to 100% of the costs for homeowners to identify, remove and replace their lead service lines or match federal funds available for the same purpose. The bill appropriates $30 million from the General Fund every fiscal year through 2032.
“All Minnesotans deserve to have clean drinking water,” said Rep. Acomb. “We need to know which water sources have been contaminated by lead service lines in order to address this issue. My bill invests in testing to help our state identify water quality problems and pinpoint effective ways to rehabilitate and replace our aging infrastructure.”
Rep. Acomb’s bill invests in lead testing and remediation in drinking water in private wells, day care facilities, and rental properties. This bill also allows the state auditor to add information about the locations of lead service lines to the state auditor’s infrastructure stress transparency tool. The infrastructure stress transparency tool is an interactive mapping tool that contains data on sewer systems and drinking water systems in the state.