City Eliminates Remaining Lead Service Lines

Marlene Feist, 509.625.6505

Friday, July 27, 2018 at 10:37 a.m.

The City of Spokane Water Department today announced that it has completed its program to remove all the remaining lead service lines in City’s water system. The program was launched in May 2016, and since then, the City replaced 486 lead connections with new copper pipe.

“We are pleased to tell our citizens that we have completed our lead pipe elimination program,” says Mayor David Condon. “Hundreds of families in Spokane no longer have to be concerned about this potential health risk.”

“Removing lead service lines is a major achievement in protecting public health for all. I applaud Spokane's aggressive effort to remove all known lead service lines from the City,” says Mike Means, Director of the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Drinking Water. “Thanks to the hard work of City employees, Spokane's residents will continue to enjoy safe and reliable drinking water for years to come.”

Service lines connect the water distribution main in the street to the water meter at a home or business. Lead service lines were installed in the early to mid-1940s when World War II efforts made other materials scarce; many of the lead connections were found in the Shadle area of Northwest Spokane. The City has about 75,000 service connections overall.

While the City’s water system routinely has met all water quality standards for lead as determined through regular mandatory testing for lead in the City’s water system, removing the pipes eliminated a potential contamination source. The program cost about $3 million.

“We have excellent water from our aquifer that meets and exceeds all water quality standards,” says Dan Kegley, the City’s Water Director. “For us, the replacement program really has been a statement of our values as a drinking water provider to our community. It was the right thing to do.”

Originally, the City had nearly 1,000 lead service lines, but efforts to remove those pipes over the years cut that number in half. The City had a long-standing policy to remove lead pipes and parts made of lead when work was being done, but the elimination program sped up that work.

The City of Spokane operates the third largest water system in the state of Washington. Beneath our City streets is a network of water pipes that delivers water from the City’s wells to homes and businesses in its service area. The City maintains about 1,000 miles of water mains and smaller water lines.

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