Lead Service Line Replacement Loan Program or Lead Loan Program (LLP), an Enhancement to the Local Water System Assistance Program (LWSAP) for Member Communities
Massachusetts Water Resources Authority
On recommendation from the MWRA Advisory Board, the MWRA Board of Directors approved an enhancement to the Local Water System Assistance Program to provide up to $100 million in 10-year zero-interest loans to communities solely for efforts to fully replace lead service lines. Each community will develop its own program, tailored to their local circumstances.
MWRA’s goal in providing financial assistance to member communities is to improve local water systems so that the high quality water MWRA delivers can make it all the way to consumers’ taps. The presence of a lead service line connecting a home to the main in the street can lead to elevated lead levels in tap water, especially if that water sits stagnant for an extended period. MWRA’s stable water quality and effective corrosion control treatment reduce the risk that a lead service line will cause elevated lead levels, and measured lead levels in high risk homes have decreased by 90 percent since corrosion control was brought on-line in 1996. However, the risk of elevated levels remains as long as lead service lines are in use.
Pool of Loan Funds
The approved $100 million in loan funds will be provided as a pool of funds available for distribution to all eligible communities for distribution beginning in FY17 for local lead service line identification/removal projects.
Eligible MWRA Water Communities
MWRA has a total of 50 water communities (with Dedham/Westwood Water District counted as one), of which 45 will be eligible for financial assistance under the Lead Service Line Replacement Loan Program. The five ineligible water communities have special case consideration, these include: Cambridge, which receives MWRA water on an emergency-only basis; Lynn, which receives MWRA water only for the GE plant; as well as Clinton, Leominster (emergency only), and Worcester (emergency only) that draw untreated (raw) water from the Wachusett Reservoir.
MWRA Lead in Tap Water Informational Brochures
Free Bill Insert Size brochure (Free download, PDF): A colorful brochure emphasizing potential risks of lead in tap water, how customers can reduce lead exposure and the benefits of full lead service line replacements. (Dimensions 3.5" X 6.5").
To assist member communities and other stakeholders, MWRA is providing free Lead in Tap Water informational brochures (bill stuffer sized) for local distribution. For more information, please contact Joshua Das, MWRA Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eligible Project Costs and Distribution/Repayment of Loan Funds
The program will provide 10-year zero-interest loans to communities to create local programs to fully remove lead service lines from the community water main all the way to the home or business. The LWSAP Program Guidelines and Application Form for Lead Service Line Replacement Loan Program Projects are available here (see link at right). Details on eligible project costs are in Section 2.7 of the Program Guidelines and outlined below.
Applications for financial assistance are due to MWRA at least one month prior to the quarterly distribution date. Binding commitments to provide financial assistance for local water projects will be issued by the MWRA in the form of a financial assistance and loan agreement subject to the availability of funds. The loan agreement will incorporate an opinion from the community's bond counsel stating that the loan is a valid general obligation of the municipality. Financial assistance will be distributed quarterly, on or about: February 15, May 15, August 15, and November 15. The financial assistance award will be transferred into a Massachusetts Municipal Depository Trust (MMDT) account established by the community. All Lead Loan Program financial assistance funds will be applied to the cost of approved community lead service line replacement project costs. All earned interest from the MMDT account, will be applied to the cost of approved community lead service line replacement project costs or other community water system rehabilitation projects. The interest-free loan will be repaid to the MWRA over a ten-year period, beginning one year after the original quarterly funding distribution date.
Community projects to identify and replace water service lines so that all lead pipes are fully removed from both the public and private portions of the service line will be eligible under the Lead Loan Program. As part of the application process, the community will be required to describe how they will address private lead service lines.
All project costs incurred on or after July 1, 2016 will be considered for eligibility in an application under the Lead Loan Program, as listed below:
Identification of water service connections (or portions of service connections) constructed of lead including related records research, inventory/database development, house to house inspection, development of outreach/education materials, mapping of lead service lines, etc.
- Construction, rehabilitation, or other improvements to replace lead water service lines to fully remove all lead pipe. Costs for water pipeline rehabilitation incidental to the replacement of lead service lines are eligible. The replacement of lead gooseneck connections is eligible, either when encountered during water system rehabilitation/construction or if targeted through a specific rehabilitation project.
- Slip lining of lead water services will not be eligible.
- Community projects that provide a homeowner incentive for lead service line replacement through rebates for privately funded lead service line replacements or other similar incentive program will be eligible.
- Costs that are reasonable and necessary to repair private property areas directly impacted by eligible construction work so that the private property is as near as practical to existing conditions. Eligibility of work on private property may need to be reviewed on a project by project basis. Work to improve private property will not be eligible.
- Paving costs that are reasonable and necessary to repair the roadway and/or sidewalk areas directly impacted by eligible construction work will also be eligible and be reviewed on a project by project basis. Eligibility of trench width pavement versus full width overlay pavement will be reviewed on a project by project basis. Cost for full depth roadway reconstruction will not be eligible.
- Police details associated with eligible project work are eligible.
- Planning and design services in connection with eligible lead service line replacement projects are eligible.
- Resident engineer inspection and construction administration services in connection with eligible lead service line replacement projects are eligible.
- Direct labor only (not including overhead or overtime costs) for force account work associated with planning, design, construction, or construction inspection of eligible lead service line replacement projects are eligible.
- Establishment of a Massachusetts Municipal Depository Trust (MMDT) or similar account used solely for the deposit, withdrawal, and tracking of financial assistance funds and Bond Counsel services, or other legal services, in connection with review of the Loan Agreement, Water Bond, and opinion of Bond Counsel are eligible.
MWRA Recommended Lead Service Line Replacement Program
Under the Local Water System Assistance Program application process for both Lead Loan Program Projects and Water Projects, communities will need to acknowledge the MWRA recommended components for a “Community Lead Service Line Replacement Program.” The MWRA recommended program incorporates at least the following:
- Communities should clearly establish that it is their goal to fully remove all lead pipe from both publicly-owned and privately-owned water service line connections;
- Communities should commit to a comprehensive lead service line inventory program to compile a listing of properties with full or partial lead service lines that will be made available to the public via web page or other similar public access vehicle (subject to disclaimer for accuracy based on best available information);
- Communities should target proactive outreach to customers with lead service lines to provide educational information regarding the risks of lead exposure and information encouraging the customer to participate in the community lead service line replacement program so that the privately-owned portion is replaced concurrent with the publicly-owned portion;
- Communities should maintain ongoing proactive outreach to customers with known privately-owned lead service lines;
- Communities should include a unit cost bid item for public and private portion service line replacement in all water pipeline projects so that a mechanism exists for full removal of lead service lines; and,
- As a secondary measure, communities’ lead service line replacement programs should include replacement of lead gooseneck connections when encountered during infrastructure rehabilitation or construction.
Practices for Communities to Consider When Developing a Lead Service Line Replacement Program
- Communities should utilize MWRA’s Lead Service Line Replacement Loan Program (Lead Loan Program) to assist in funding projects that will replace water service lines so that all lead pipe is fully removed from both community-owned and privately-owned portions of the water system. MWRA’s $100 million Lead Loan Program provides 10-year interest-free loans to communities to reduce the potential for elevated lead levels at customer taps. Loan funds are available beginning in FY17.
- The EPA continues to review the Lead and Copper Rule and is expected to propose a number of substantial changes (likely in 2017). Changes to the Lead and Copper Rule may require communities to enhance existing Water Department inventories/records of service line construction materials to proactively demonstrate that each service connection is or is not constructed with lead pipe.
- Communities should consider being proactive in developing a comprehensive lead service line research, inspection, and inventory program to compile a listing of properties with full or partial lead service lines that can be made available to the public via web page or other similar public access vehicle (subject to disclaimer for accuracy based on best available information). Consider a spreadsheet or database of all water services which may include: service connection address, type of use (single residence, multi residence, business, etc.); date and construction material of service connection from tie cards; date, construction material, and potential use of lead goosenecks from water main record plans, date of building construction from assessors records, potential for lead service based on building age; service line materials at the water meter from meter replacement projects or battery replacements for remote read systems; service line materials at the water meter from house to house inspection/inventories (possibly in conjunction with sump pump identification projects); etc.
- As part of a comprehensive program, communities should consider being proactive with lead education and outreach targeted to property owners that have lead service connections to promote replacement of privately-owned portions of lead service lines concurrent with the publicly-owned portion.
- Communities may consider using lower cost force account workers, such as summer interns or contract employees, to develop the service line inventory under the direction of senior staff.
- An effective lead service line replacement program should clearly establishes it is the community’s goal to fully remove all lead pipe from both publicly-owned and privately-owned water service line connections. The program should include replacement of lead gooseneck connections when encountered during infrastructure construction or via targeted replacement.
- Communities may consider a lead service line replacement programs that provide a homeowner incentive through rebates for homeowner initiated projects, cost subsidy of privately-owned portion replacement for community initiated projects, extended repayment terms to homeowners required to repay the community for community initiated projects, etc.
- Community lead service line replacement programs may consider targeting early action buildings likely to host children, such as: school buildings, early childhood education centers, day care centers, pediatrician offices, child play centers, other businesses centered on children, etc.
- Communities may consider including a unit cost bid item for public and private portion service line replacement in water pipeline and other infrastructure projects so that a mechanism exists for full removal of lead service lines. Alternatively, communities may consider contracting separately for lead service line replacements over a specific time period and/or prequalifying contractors.
- Communities may consider requiring CORI checks via the local police department for all contractor, consultant, or force account employees that work on private property as part of their local program.
Overview of Community Lead Service Line Programs
Resources for Lead Service Line Replacement Programs
Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Collaborative
The Lead Service Line Replacement (LSLR) Collaborative, a diverse coalition of 23 national public health, water utility, environmental, labor, consumer, housing and state and local government organizations, released an online toolkit designed to help communities across the United States accelerate removal of lead service lines. Removing these lead pipes provides an opportunity to significantly reduce the risk of exposure to lead in drinking water. the Collaborative's toolkit includes a road map for getting started, suggested practices to identify and remove lead service lines in a safe, equitable, and cost-effective manner, policies that federal and state leaders could adopt to support local efforts, and links to additional resources that may be helpful when developing local programs.
LSLR Collaborative web site
LSLR Collaborative Communication Guide (PDF)
Water Utilities that Have Lead Service Line Replacement Programs
Boston Water and Sewer Commission – The Lead Replacement Incentive Program
DC Water and Sewer – Lead Service Pipe Replacements
Green Bay Wisconsin Water Utility – Public Information on Lead in Drinking Water and Lead Service Removal Program (Presentation) (Press Release)
Hamilton California Public Works – Lead Pipe Service Replacement Program
Lansing Michigan, Board of Water & Light – Lead Service Line Replacement Program
Louisville Kentucky Water - Lead Service Line Replacement Program
Madison Wisconsin Water Utility – Lead Service Replacement Program
Toronto Canada – Lead in Drinking Water Mitigation Strategy
Winnipeg Canada – Lead Pipe Replacement Program
1905 Massachusetts State Board of Health Annual Report
This 1905 report (PDF) notes the materials used for water service pipes in cities and towns throughout Massachusetts. This article includes a table listing the number of water service pipes made from different materials for many Massachusetts communities. The water service pipe materials include: lead, lead lined, wrought iron, galvanized iron, cement lined, and tin lined.
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February 8, 2017