Monday, August 26th, 2019

Missed opportunity for Milwaukee’s lead pipe problem


The city of Milwaukee, like many communities, has a lead pipe problem. However, the city of Milwaukee is also telling the Public Service Commission that the lead pipe problem is a matter of state concern and they’re stopping the removal of the lead pipes. At the MacIver Institute, I explain how Milwaukee is trying to dodge the responsibility:

The city sent a letter to the Public Service Commission saying it would not be able to replace as many of the old mains as they had promised in 2014 when they asked permission to raise rates by 10.8 percent. In addition, they said, “This is a matter of statewide public health concern for all utilities that have lead service lines. It also presents issues of how to address lead service lines on private property and financing options to assist homeowners for what could be very costly work.”

In other words, it costs a lot, and we don’t want to pay for it. By the way, you’ll notice that Milwaukee Water Works is not offering to lower rates at all while not performing the work they promised when they raised the rates.

Implied in the letter is that someone else – other people’s money – should bail Milwaukee out of this problem since it’s, “a matter of statewide public health.”

I also explain how Milwaukee could be financing the removal of the lead pipes themselves and, by the way, a little regional cooperation would have helped pay for it, too.

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