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$28.6 million headed toward Arizona for swapping out lead pipes

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(The Center Square) – Millions of federal taxpayer dollars will be headed toward Arizona for getting rid of lead pipes.

$28.65 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is intended to help “identify and replace” the pipes in the state, as the Environmental Protection Agency considers any quantity of lead in water people drink to be potentially dangerous.

“Resources for lead service line replacement are already being used in large and small communities across the state,” Chuck Podolak, Director of the Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona said in a statement last week.

“We are grateful for the continued infusion of critical funding and the partnerships it has facilitated between WIFA and Arizona’s Department of Environmental Quality, which is utilizing funds to assist small water systems in identifying where harmful lead service lines might exist in their communities,” Podolak added.

A news release from the EPA said that the goal is to swap out 1.7 million lead pipes throughout the United States.

Sens. Kyrsten Sinema and Kelly will regularly announce allocations of federal funds toward projects, which sometimes either go to other government entities or the private sector. This is largely stemming from the aforementioned $1.2 infrastructure bill or the Inflation Reduction Act.

“All Arizonans deserve access to clean, safe drinking water – and still, exposure to water from lead pipes threatens the health of families and loved ones. Thanks to our bipartisan infrastructure law, we’re investing in lead pipe replacement to protect Arizonans’ health,” Sinema said in a statement.

KJZZ reported in 2022 that the EPA wanted thousands of pipes changed over lead concerns in Phoenix alone. According to the city of Phoenix, the most recent replacements happened in the 90s, but that only applies to the city itself.

Nationwide, the lead pipe replacement efforts from the “Drinking Water State Revolving Fund” will cost $3 billion, according to the EPA.

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