Water running from a faucet.Source: Canva

Evers awards $402 million to communities to improve water quality

October 23, 2023 12:53 PM

The funding will be focused on smaller and underserved communities around the state to treat PFAS contamination and replace lead service lines.

By: Nate Wegehaupt

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – Governor Tony Evers announced today he is allocating $402 million to over 100 communities across the state to improve drinking water quality. The funding comes from the state’s Safe Drinking Water Loan Program, which is managed by the state Department of Natural Resources.

The funding will be focused toward small and disadvantaged communities across the state, primarily focusing on lower PFAS contamination and replacing lead service lines. 

Exposure to lead can cause brain damage and other physical problems, and can lead to development delays in children. Exposure to PFAS has been linked to increased risk for certain cancers, and decreased fertility in women.

One already approved project would send over $30 million to the city of Milwaukee to replace their lead service lines. There are over 66,000 lead-lined service pipes in the city of Milwaukee. Earlier this year, Milwaukee city officials announced a new plan to replace all of those lines within 20 years. While critics argue that the timeline is too long, and will result in generations of children being exposed to lead in their drinking water, city officials say that the plan is a step in the right direction to fixing the city’s contaminated pipes.

Another approved project would send over $17 million to the city of Wausau to reduce PFAS concentrations in their water. PFAS was first discovered in their water in 2019. The new funding would help the city of Wausau build a long-term PFAS removal treatment system.  

State officials will release a full list of projects approved for funding next month. 

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