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Cincinnati Could Begin Replacing Private Lead Water Lines

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Greater Cincinnati Water Works

Greater Cincinnati Water Works wants to change the way it's replacing lead service lines to some homes and businesses in the city.

It's proposing to replace both the public and private portions at the same time. Currently the city does its part, then private property owners are responsible for their portion from their property line to the building.

Water Works Deputy Director Verna Arnette says research suggests that doesn't make sense.

"The best time to do lead service line replacement is to do the whole thing at one time. That not only presents the lowest risk to the consumer, but it also is the most efficient use of financial resources."

Water Works estimates there are more than 16,000 lead service lines still in use. The city would replace the private portion of the service line and then assess the charges to the property tax bill.

"For those customers that need assistance with funding for that private portion, we propose that their be a program that they could qualify for to get assistance either to have the money provided for them or to have the assessment deferred to a later date," says Arnette.

The replacement program would likely last for 15 years.

Officials are also studying whether some financial assistance could be provided to homeowners. A city council committee is expected to discuss the proposal again in two weeks.