Report: Lead Service Line Replacement Under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law

The Northeast-Midwest Institute has issued a report analyzing the new Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) in terms of how federal funding for lead service line replacement is being distributed among the states, including both total funding by state and funding per capita by state.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has supplemented the preexisting Drinking Water State Revolving Fund program with $15 billion in funding over five years to be used for lead service line (LSL) identification and replacement projects. This historic investment in water infrastructure demonstrates a key step in the Biden-Harris Administration’s roadmap to eliminating these public threats by providing local governments with access to affordable financing options.

The NEMWI report notes that while five of the ten most funded states under the BIL program are located in the northeast and midwest region, namely Illinois, Michigan, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, a number of states in the region are underfunded when considering their per capita allotments, most notably Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. This per capita under-funding is especially noteworthy, the report notes, because an estimated 65 percent of the nation’s lead service lines are located in the northeast and midwest. 

The NEMWI report states that while the increased federal investment aims to help local communities in the process of LSL removal, the allocation formula currently being used to determine each state’s allotment fails to prioritize states with higher inventories of lead pipes. Looking forward to fiscal years 2023-2026, the NEMWI report recommends that it is crucial that the EPA modify its current allotment formula to better reflect the needs of states with the highest prevalence of lead service lines.

To learn more about how the northeast and midwest states compare to other regions in terms of LSL removal funding, click here to read NEMWI’s full report.