INDIANAPOLIS — Citizens Energy plans to replace 2,500 customer-owner lead service lines in Indianapolis homes over the next five years. The program is estimated to cost more than $22 million. The utility has begun adding a $.50-$.75 charge on utility bills to help fund the program.
A spokesperson for Citizens Energy Group estimates there could more more than 50,000 homes in Indianapolis that still utilize lead service lines. The service line runs water from the water main to the customer's house. Customers own that pipe, which can cost thousands to replace.
Per the Mayo Institute, elevated lead levels can cause extreme and permanent medical issues. Children are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning.
Citizen's spokesperson, Dan Considine, says that Indy's water is safe, and it contains no lead when it leaves Citizens' facilities. The water is also treated to prevent lead leeching into the water from lead service lines.
"We are doing this program because we feel we have a public responsibility as the water utility to take a leadership role here and to be proactive," Considine said.
The Indianapolis NAACP has worked to rid the city of lead for years. The organization's education chair, Garry Holland says that this shows Citizens being strong stewards of the community. But he's concerned about where the crews will concentrate their efforts. He hopes that the most vulnerable neighborhoods will be top of the list.
"We have the data the shows high crime in areas and zip code areas where lead is being identified," Considine said.
Citizens will choose which lead lines to replace first using three criteria:
1. Crews will replace lead lines discovered during routine construction
2. Crews will focus their proactive efforts on neighborhoods with high concentrations of lead lines and older homes.
3. You can request your line to be changed. Find more information and a request for on Citizens' website.
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