Lead Water Service Information

Based on the age of homes in South St. Paul, there is estimated to be approximately 800 homes with lead services.  Lead most frequently gets into drinking water by leaching from plumbing materials and fixtures as water moves through the distribution system.  The City has comprehensive water testing to monitor lead levels at spot locations throughout the City as well as within school properties.  The water monitoring results have consistently shown that the City is not above the thresholds set by the MN Department of Health (MDH) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

However, staff anticipates that the Mn Department of Health and the EPA will eventually require all communities to chlorinate City water supplies and these agencies are continually lowering acceptable levels of contaminant thresholds within the distribution system. Staff is concerned that in the future the City may face issues of changing water chemistry, which may increase lead solubility and corrosion within the aging water distribution system.  While there are ways to mitigate this during the chlorination process, the most cost effective and responsible approach would be to encourage property owners to replace lead service lines on their own.  

At this time, there are no requirements from the MDH or EPA to require private property owners to remove lead service lines.  The City has developed a policy to help owners with lead service line replacement. Based on requests from property owners for lead service line replacement assistance, the City Engineer will execute an assessment agreement with the property owner for up to $5,000 for lead service line replacements at an interest rate of 1 percent plus the current bond rate with the following repayment schedules:

•Less than or equal to $2,500 is payable over 3 years.
•Greater than $2,500 up to $5,000 is payable over 5 years.

Based on Sec. 50-21 of the City’s Code of Ordinances, property owners are allowed to request a deferred assessment if they meet certain age or hardship requirements.  If the City Council approves deferment of payment of special assessments, the City Engineer will execute a deferred assessment agreement with the property for up to $5,000 for lead service line replacements at an interest rate of 1 percent plus the current bond rate.

If the total requests for lead service line replacements exceed the total overall budgeted amount for the program, the City Engineer will not authorize any additional lead service line replacements without City Council authorization.

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