Wausau Mayor invited to White House for city’s progress in replacing lead pipes

The summit was held to speed up the replacement of lead pipes in communities across the country
Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 3:13 PM CST
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WSAW) - Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg was invited to the White House to be on the Lead First Communities panel.

Mayor Rosenberg joined several other mayors for the Lead Pipe Summit. In a press release, the city of Wausau announced it was proud to be invited to be an inaugural member in the “Biden-Harris Get The Lead Out Partnership”.

Rosenberg explained how the city worked to make progress to address the issue.

“So I think one of the big things we’re doing is, we were able to use the American Rescue Plan funding to start to work with a consultant. So we could start understanding the scope of the problem... Understanding where these lead service lines are,” said Rosenberg.

She said about 8,000 lead service lines still need replacing.

“And as we’re looking at this, everything from this, the public street to the home to the meters-- they’ll cost about $10,000 each. So you know, it’s just an $80 million issue over the next 15 years. But again, we want to do this faster, we want to make sure that we’re doing this right,” said Rosenberg.

In addition to lead pipes, Wausau has also been addressing the issue of PFAS in its wells. The wells are now PFAS-free, but Rosenberg explained that fixing both issues has been challenging.

The partnership will lift and leverage existing efforts to meet the President’s commitment to 100% leadfree drinking water by the end of the decade. The new Partnership is a coalition of federal government, states, Tribes, local communities, nongovernmental organizations, water utilities, labor unions, and private companies, all of which have committed to a framework of health-informed, justice-centered principles of lead service line replacement.