NORMAL, Ill (WMBD) — On Monday night, March 1, the Normal Town Council voted unanimously to approve a program to replace the last of the town’s water lines made of lead.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a regulation in 1991 known as the Lead and Copper Rule, which regulates the amounts of lead and copper in drinking water. In 2017, the EPA amended the regulation to require water suppliers to replace at least 10% of lead lines each year for the next 10 years.
The EPA also ruled in the 2017 amended regulation that partial replacement is not an option.
To help with this, the Normal Town Council approved a program it said “should” replace all existing lead lines in the town by 2022.
Through this program, the town will coordinate with homeowners and property owners to see how quickly the replacement of lines can happen.
Town officials estimate less than 75 of its 17, 377 lines are known to be lead-based.
Under the Lead Service Line Program, “the town will pay to replace the lead service lines between the water main and a property’s shut-off valve, while the cost of replacing lines between the
shut-off valve and structure will be the property owner’s responsibility.”
To help combat the financial burden to homeowners, the program includes an interest-free loan component in which the town will pay for the homeowners’ line replace upfront, and property owners would repay the town over an extended period of time.
Repayment terms will be based upon the total cost. According to the town’s council packet, projects less than $2,500 will be paid off in 12 months or less, projects costing $2,500-$5,000 will be paid off in 24 months and projects more than $5,000 will be paid off in 36 months.
All council members voted for this plan and said it is beneficial to the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.
Town officials estimate this will only affect approximately 57 homeowners, and officials will be reaching out to those property owners.