Galesburg officials seek funds to replace privately owned lead service lines

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GALESBURG, Illinois — More money could be headed to Galesburg to help city leaders replace lead water lines.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) has given preliminary approval for a $4 million forgivable loan. This would replace around 2,000 privately owned lead service lines in Galesburg, but it's a long road ahead to get the lead lines replaced.

The financial help from the Illinois EPA could pay for about half of the work.

Galesburg will be required only to repay the interest on the loan.

"We anticipate that it will take two or three years to replace the lines with this funding," said Todd Thompson, city manager.

The city still has to submit its formal application for the loan, then will have to decide which lines to replace first.

"We're putting that together now, some of the criteria we'll use will be the age of the house, housing that has exceeded the action level in the past," said Thompson.

It could cost another $6 million to complete the replacement project. Thompson says they are going to continue to try and get more money from other avenues. The city has applied for a CDEP grant of $450,000.

City officials say they're hopeful that this money will take the stress off of homeowners.

"This is a part of the overall effort to address lead in the community we still want folks to be mindful of their environment," said Thompson.

Thompson hopes the city can start replacing lead lines as early as this fall.

“Water contamination coming from lead service lines is a widespread problem in our state that contributes to the public health risk of lead poisoning, along with other sources such as decomposing lead paint.  We need to continue to be vigilant in our efforts to shield
citizens from lead in all of its forms," said John Pritchard, Galesburg's mayor.

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