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New program available for Kenosha City residents to replace lead service lines

KENOSHA, Wis. (CBS 58) – Residents in the City of Kenosha can get financial assistance from the Kenosha Water Utility to replace lead service lines.

Kenosha is the first city in the state to be authorized to utilize the replacement program under Act 137.

“Anyone who has a lead service line on the customer lead service side is eligible,” said Ed St. Peter, Kenosha Water Utility general manager.

Selena Mercado and her young family were the first to get their service line replaced.

“It’s not a handout, it’s a hand up. It’s so nice to have this especially with the fact that they care about my son,” Mercado said.

She discovered her one-year-old son, Leonardo, could be at risk when she discovered she had a lead service line.

“It concerned me because I heard so many things about lead paint and poisoning and the things it can do to the child,” Mercado said.

She got an estimate that it would cost about $4,000 and with the program, she got help to pay for it.

Homeowners are responsible for the laterals from their home to the property line. This program allows the utility to provide grants of 50 percent, combined with a 10-year, low-interest loan that can be placed on the owners’ property tax bills.

“They broke up my entire basement floor took out the pipe and repatched the basement so everything in my house that is lead is gone,” Mercado said.

Each year there will be a set budget for the replacement program so there will be a priority list. Those with leaks, families with young children and women who are pregnant will take priority.

St. Peter estimates they will be able to replace between 25-450 customer service lines.

“Hopefully it says we (Kenosha) are a leader, we care about children, about our community, about our people,” St. Peter said.

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