Biden to announce $3 billion to replace lead pipes

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President Biden will announce Thursday that his administration will be doling out $3 billion in funds to replace lead pipes, which can pose a health hazard.

Biden will announce the funds, part of a total of $15 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, during a trip to Wilmington, N.C., to replace these pipes. 

He will also announce the first Bipartisan Infrastructure Law-funded lead pipe replacement in Wilmington is underway. North Carolina is slated to get $76 million of the total $3 billion being dispersed. 

That $3 billion is expected to replace up to 1.7 million lead pipes, the White House said. The U.S. currently has an estimated 9.2 million lead service lines. 

While the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s funding is expected to make a significant dent in the nation’s lead pipe problem, environmental advocates have expressed concern that it is not enough. 

No safe level of lead in drinking water has been identified. Exposure to the substance can damage children’s brains and nervous systems. The most infamous incident of lead poisoning in the U.S. was the water crisis in Flint, Mich., though numerous other areas have also dealt with such problems. 

The Biden administration has proposed to require most of the nation’s lead pipes to be replaced in 10 years, though concerns have been raised that some cities, like Chicago, could maintain some of their lead pipes for years or even decades under the proposal. 

In addition to the funding for lead services line replacement, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is announcing Thursday nearly $90 million to reduce health hazards in public housing, including lead-based paint — as well as carbon monoxide, mold, radon, and asbestos. 

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