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Montana receives $28M from federal government to address lead water service lines

Drinking Water
Posted at 2:58 PM, May 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-03 16:58:53-04

HELENA — The federal government has announced an investment of $28.6 million for the 2024 fiscal year, to help identify and replace lead service lines in Montana water systems.

This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allotted $3 billion nationwide to address lead service lines through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. The money was allocated to each state based on the projected numbers of lines they will need to replace. Montana received 1% of the available money for states. States like Illinois, Florida and Ohio received the most.

The EPA also released a memo laying out rules and recommendations for how states should use this funding. One option could be to provide loans, to help public water systems inventory their lines to identify where they have lead pipes – a process systems in Montana are already working on, to get in compliance with a federal rule.

This money is part of $15 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which leaders say will replace millions of lead pipes across the country.

The EPA says lead exposure can have serious health effects – including risk of irreversible harm to young children’s brain development – and communities of color and low-income families are disproportionally affected.