Indiana Newsletter: Lead & Copper Rules Require Action by October 2024

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Indiana communities are making progress in removing harmful lead from the drinking water and complying with the requirements of the state’s revised Lead and Copper rules.

Fort Wayne City Utilities is one of Indiana’s proactive utilities and was among the first to receive funding for a lead service replacement program. Utility staff kept a close eye on the Federal infrastructure bill passed in late 2021 and immediately contacted the Indiana Finance Authority about the distribution of funds that would come through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF).

“We appreciate the state’s effort to help us replace lead service lines. We’ve been doing replacements since 2019 and DWSRF funding helps us perform these replacements while keeping our rates lower,” said Austyn Smedberg, engineer for the City of Fort Wayne’s City Utilities. “Our corrosion control treatment is very helpful to property owners that have a lead water line. Replacing the lead service lines from the non-lead water mains to the home helps even further.”

Like all Indiana communities, Smedberg and City Utilities officials are still on the clock to prepare and maintain a comprehensive inventory of service line materials by October 16, 2024, and provide material verification methodology. In 2019, Fort Wayne officials estimated they had 15,000 lead service lines among over 100,000 total service lines. The inventories, submitted to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), must be updated every year.

“We’ve been looking at the new rules and making sure that we’re on the right track. Compiling a comprehensive distribution system material inventory that will become publicly available is one aspect of this rule that we have been preparing for,” Smedberg noted. “We’ve got the groundwork built for that, and we’re populating the data so that we will be ready for the October 2024 deadline.”

The new Lead and Copper Rules, set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), require public water systems to perform additional actions to better protect communities from exposure to lead in drinking water.

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