PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — U.S. Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse announced a step forward in providing Rhode Islanders with safe and clean drinking water.

Reed and Whitehouse joined Providence Water and Rhode Island Infrastructure Bank to highlight $3.3 million in funding for lead pipe replacement and other safe drinking water projects through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. They made the announcement on Potters Avenue in Providence where lead pipes were being replaced free of charge.

The use of these pipes can lead to health concerns over time, since lead can taint the water as it travels through. Consuming any amount of lead is not safe, and health officials say the impacts can include behavioral and learning problems in children and heart, kidney and reproductive issues in adults.

“Aging lead pipes have long been a serious health concern for communities nationwide, including here in Rhode Island,” Reed said. “This $3.3 million earmark is being put to work eliminating lead exposure within the communities that Providence Water serves, including replacing over 730 private lead service lines at no cost to homeowners.”

According to Providence Water, the funding will allow them to replace more than 31,000 private lead service lines.

“Nearly 25,000 homeowners have private side lead services, which is their personal plumbing,” GM Ricky Caruolo said. “Unfortunately, the majority of those homes are in economically disadvantaged communities and the cost to replace a private side lead service is $4,500.”

In addition to the $3.3 million, Reed and White house said Rhode Island is expected to receive $377 million for drinking water improvements, including lead pipe replacements and PFAS remediation, through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Lead prevention advocates estimate nearly 100,000 drinking water pipes still contain lead statewide.