Biden-Harris Administration announces over $28 million for Maine lead pipe replacement to advance safe drinking water as part of Investing in America agenda

May 8, 2024 / Comments (0)


EPA announces latest round of funding toward President Biden’s commitment to replace every lead pipe in the nation, protecting public health and helping to deliver safe drinking water

Contact information: Vikram Lakshmanan, [email protected], 617-918-1064;  EPA Region 1 Press Office ([email protected])

BOSTON (May 2, 2024) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $28,650,000 from President Biden’s Investing in America agenda to help Maine identify and replace lead service lines, preventing exposure to lead in drinking water. Lead can cause a range of serious health impacts, including irreversible harm to brain development in children. To protect children and families, President Biden has committed to replacing every lead pipe in the country. Today’s announcement, funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and available through EPA’s successful Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF), takes another major step to advance this work and the Administration’s commitment to environmental justice. This funding builds on the Administration’s Lead Pipe and Paint Action Plan and EPA’s Get the Lead Out Initiative.

Working collaboratively, EPA and the State Revolving Funds are advancing the President’s Justice40 Initiative to ensure that 40% of overall benefits from certain federal investments flow to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution. Lead exposure disproportionately affects communities of color and low-income families. The total funding announced through this program to date is expected to replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes nationwide, securing clean drinking water for countless families.

“The science is clear, there is no safe level of lead exposure, and the primary source of harmful exposure in drinking water is through lead pipes,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “President Biden understands it is critical to identify and remove lead pipes as quickly as possible, and he has secured significant resources for states and territories to accelerate the permanent removal of dangerous lead pipes once and for all.”

“Our goal is simple, yet essential: to assure that everyone has clean, safe drinking water. That’s why identifying and replacing lead service lines is crucial; it can protect our communities, especially the most vulnerable, from lead exposure,” said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “New England has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and no one—no matter where they live—should have to worry about lead in their drinking water and what comes out of the tap. This funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides the much-needed resources to help deliver on that promise—to replace every lead pipe and ensure clean, safe drinking water for all.”

“We know there is no safe level of lead consumption, especially for children. And while Maine was decades ahead of the nation on banning lead pipes and plumbing fixtures, thousands of lead service lines are still in use across the state,” said Senator Angus King (I-Maine) and Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) and Jared Golden (D-Maine). “Thanks to the landmark Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, this $28 million federal investment will help identify and replace remaining lead pipes across Maine so we can eradicate this known health threat for good. We’re proud to see this historic law continue to deliver for Maine people.”

“The Maine CDC remains committed to assisting Public Water Systems with identifying and replacing any lead service lines that may still be present across the State,” said Dr. Puthiery Va, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. “The U.S. EPA funding is available to Public Water Systems in Maine to support that important work.”

President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law invests a historic $15 billion to identify and replace lead service lines. The law mandates that 49% of funds provided through the DWSRF General Supplemental Funding and DWSRF Lead Service Line Replacement Funding must be provided as grants and forgivable loans to disadvantaged communities, a crucial investment for communities that have been underinvested in for too long. EPA projects a national total of 9 million lead services lines across the country, based on data collected from the updated 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment. The funding announced today will be provided specifically for lead service line identification and replacement and will help every state and territory fund projects to remove lead pipes and reduce exposure to lead from drinking water.

The Lead Service Line-specific formula used to allot these funds allows states to receive financial assistance commensurate with their need as soon as possible, furthering public health protection nationwide. The formula and allotments are based on need — meaning that states with more projected lead service lines receive proportionally more funding.

Alongside the funding announced today, EPA is also releasing a new memorandum that clarifies how states can use this and other funding to most effectively reduce exposure to lead in drinking water. Additionally, EPA has developed new outreach documents to help water systems educate their customers on drinking water issues, health impacts of lead exposure, service line ownership, and how customers can support the identification of potential lead service lines in their homes.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s ambitious initiative to remove lead pipes has already delivered significant results for families across the nation. Today’s latest funding will ensure more families benefit from these unprecedented resources, and support projects like these:

  • – The Greater Augusta Utilities District has received $1,000,000 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Lead Service Line Inventories including the purchase of a vacuum truck and trailer.
  • – The Stonington Water Company has received $65,000 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for service line inspection and replacement associated with a transmission line replacement.
  • – The Presque Isle Utilities District has received $479,596 through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for Vacuum truck purchasing for Lead Service Line inventory and replacement.

To view more stories about how the unpreceded investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law are transforming communities across the country, visit EPA’s Investing in America’s Water Infrastructure Story Map. To read more about some additional projects that are underway, see EPA’s recently released Quarterly Report on Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funded Clean Water and Drinking Water SRF projects and explore the State Revolving Funds Public Portal.

Today’s allotments are based on EPA’s updated 7th Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment (DWINSA) including an assessment of newly submitted information. To date, this is the best available data collected and assessed on service line materials in the United States. Later this summer, EPA will release an addendum to the 7th DWINSA Report to Congress which will include the updated lead service line projections. EPA anticipates initiating data collection, which will include information on lead service lines, for the 8th DWINSA in 2025.

For more information, including state-by-state allotment of 2024 funding, and a breakdown of EPA’s lead Drinking Water State Revolving Fund, please visit EPA’s Drinking Water website.