Providence officials introduce lead-free water program

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — State officials announced a new program Monday that is designed to help more than 25,000 homeowners who have private side lead service lines replace them.

The “lead free is the way to be” program, initiated by Providence Water and Mayor Jorge Elorza, will also provide customers with several tools to determine if they have lead in their water and how to reduce lead exposure.

“Lead and copper contamination in drinking water primarily occurs because of the corrosion of pipes, lead plumbing and lead solder, especially in older homes,” Providence Water General Manager Ricky Caruolo said. “Over the last 20 years, Providence Water has spent more than $55 million replacing partial public side lead services. The lead free is the way to be program builds on our work to eliminate lead in drinking water.”

Providence Water approved $1.2 million in funding to provide homeowners with 3-year 0% interest loans to replace their lead service lines, which on average costs around $3,000.

“Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for young children and pregnant women,” Elorza said. “By providing this incentive, we are working to reduce our residents’ exposure to lead while significantly reducing the cost burden to homeowners.”

Providence Water said it will automatically replace all public side of lead service lines as each private side service line is replaced. Currently, Providence Water said 12,300 public side lead lines.

Anyone who wants more information or has any questions regarding the program can visit the Providence Water website.

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