ROCKFORD (WREX) — A federal grant is allowing the City of Rockford to replace lead water pipes.
The city secured a $2 million Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) State Revolving Loan that doesn’t need to be paid back.
Over the next five years, Rockford Water plans to replace about 2,500 of its 14,000 known lead service lines, focusing on the highest risk pipes first. The $2 million is expected to cover work that started in July and will go through spring. The city plans to apply for another loan to continue the program once the $2 million is used. It will take several years to replace all the lead lines.
The city says they’re taking a three-prong approach to the project:
- The city is addressing the high-risk/oldest lead service lines
- Replace lead lines during capital improvement projects to reduce restoration costs
- Replace the lead lines when there are maintenance issues (ex: a service leak)
Fehr Graham helped the City of Rockford to become the first in the state to qualify for the program using an adaptive management approach to replace the pipes. The new approach means the city can get easements from property owners as they encounter high-risk lines, allowing them to replace them more quickly and efficiently and be more responsive to system needs.
Rockford’s current water system is more than 100 years old, according to a press release sent out by Fehr Graham. The upgrade to the system will improve water quality for the residents of Rockford.
“Rockford Water is proud and excited to be at the forefront of lead service line replacement in the state,” said Kyle Saunders, the city’s public works director. “The team at Fehr Graham helped us seize this opportunity to upgrade our aging water system at no cost to our rate payers.”