Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Readying Michigan to Effectively Use Bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Funds to Replace Lead Service Lines 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 

November 22, 2021   

Contact: Press@michigan.gov    

Gov. Whitmer Signs Executive Directive Readying Michigan to Effectively Use Bipartisan Federal Infrastructure Funds to Replace Lead Service Lines  

State focused on protecting safe drinking water, creating more good-paying jobs for Michigan workers, shoring up communities against flooding 

LANSING, Mich. - Governor Gretchen Whitmer today, in preparation for the federal funds Michigan is expected to receive specifically for water infrastructure from the newly-enacted federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, issued an executive directive (ED) to state departments and agencies to collaborate with the legislature and begin preparing the state to replace lead services lines (LSLs), build up water infrastructure, and continue prioritizing safe drinking water for every Michigander. 

"Right now, we have an incredible opportunity to put Michiganders first by using the funds we will be getting under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to ensure every community has safe drinking water," said Governor Gretchen Whitmer. "With this Executive Directive, we are accelerating the timeline to replace 100% of lead service lines in Michigan, prioritizing communities that have been disproportionately impacted, fostering enhanced collaboration across departments, and ensuring that the projects are built by Michigan workers and businesses. I look forward to working with the legislature to invest these dollars and get the job done." 

"We appreciate Governor Whitmer's leadership and determination to prioritize water-protection work in the Great Lake State with the new federal infrastructure funds. Michiganders' urgent water needs can't wait." said Liz Kirkwood, Executive Director of FLOW (For Love of Water). "We must use this once-in-a-generation infrastructure investment to replace lead lines, modernize drinking water and sewage plants, and clean up PFAS contamination right away. This investment is essential to the public health and prosperity of families and communities, and will support good-paying jobs that cannot be outsourced. The Great Lake State will be shaped by our collective bipartisan support and response to rebuilding our water systems to ensure every resident has access to clean, safe, and affordable water."  

"The number one responsibility of a Plumber is to protect the health of the nation and help every family and community access safe drinking water," said Jeremy Garza of the Michigan Pipe Trades Association. "The licensed plumbers of the United Association stand ready to help with safe and proper installation and replacement of Michigan's potable water lines. We will work together to get the job done." 

The ED directs state departments to take a range of actions to ensure that lead service lines are replaced ahead of schedule, including: 

  • Putting Michigan workers and businesses first, prioritizing in-state businesses and workers as work to upgrade water infrastructure continues. 
  • Prioritizing lead service line replacement for communities that have been disproportionately burdened by lead in their drinking water and communities that require financial or technical assistance to utilize water infrastructure dollars. 
  • Helping local communities build infrastructure efficiently, using the "dig once" principle to complete work on water, high-speed internetthe road, and other utilities simultaneously wherever possible. 
  • Finding opportunities to layer in flooding resiliency to water infrastructure, incorporating lessons learned from this summer's historic floods. 
  • Working with community colleges, trade associations, and unions to train new craftsmen that will build infrastructure, creating good-paying jobs. 

To view the full executive directive, click the link below:  

Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan 

The historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Actwill send billions of dollars to Michigan to help Governor Whitmer continue fixing the damn roads, create millions of good-paying jobs, ensure small businesses can safely transport goods, expand the state's electric vehicle charging infrastructure, replace aging water infrastructure, including lead service lines, and expand high-speed internet access.   

More details on the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act can be found here. 

Water Infrastructure & LSL Background Information 

Lead 

There is no safe level of lead. Lead exposure harms brain development in children and it causes both short and long-term health problems for adults. The leading causes of lead exposure are drinking water and paint. Nationally, around 9.2 million homes have lead pipes. Michigan's top priority is safe drinking water for everyone. 

Lead Service Lines (LSLs) 

Under Michigan's Lead and Copper Rule, the strictest nationwide, every community is required to replace 5% of its LSLs every year, meaning 100% replacement in 20 years. However, any community experiencing an action level exceedance, or ALE, is required to replace their LSLs at a rate of 7% per year, meaning 100% completion in just under 15 years.  

With additional federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Plan, Michigan will be able to speed up this timeline and fix and replace more water infrastructure, including lead pipes. 

Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration Water Investment 

Since the Whitmer-Gilchrist Administration took office in January 2019, the State of Michigan has invested more in its water infrastructure than the previous five years-from 2014 to 2018-combined.  

The governor launched the MI Clean Water plan to invest $700 million to build up drinking and wastewater infrastructure while supporting 10,000 good-paying jobs. The plan addresses high water rates, tackles toxic contaminants like PFAS, builds up sewer and septic systems that can't meet demand, and replaces lead service lines. In addition to MI Clean Water plan, Michigan has invested millions in drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater facilities across the state supporting thousands of local jobs. 

The administration established health-based PFAS standards for drinking water, has held polluters accountable, and created statewide positions to pursue environmental justice and advocate for clean water while also continuing to enforce the strongest Lead and Copper Rule in the country. 

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