Council moves forward on lead line policy

by Emmitt B. Feldner
of The Review staff

PLYMOUTH – The City Council continued Tuesday to put together a lead line replacement policy for the city.

The council approved two resolutions – one approving a plan to replace city lead service lines, the second to set a fee for reconnecting replaced private sewer lines to the city sanitary sewer system.

That fee will be $750, to be paid by the property owner.

City Administrator Brian Yerges said the plan, developed by the city’s consulting engineers Kapur and Associates, identifies all lead service areas in the city and estimates the cost of their replacement.

As part of the plan, Plymouth Utilities would pick up the cost of replacing lead service lines from the main in the street to individual property lines. Replacing lead lines from the property line to individual homes or buildings would still be the responsibility of property owners.

“That gets it out of the roadway,”

Yerges explained. “It’s a common practice in a lot of other cities to do that.”

“We had discussed taking this another step further,” to require private lead service lines to be replaced at the same time cityowned mains are replaced, Alderman John Nelson noted.

“I think that has a lot of merit,” he continued. “That is the least expensive time when homeowners could replace lead service,” when the main is being replaced, according to Nelson.

“We would encourage homeowners to take advantage of the projects as they come along when we’re digging up the street,” Alderman Shawn Marcom advised.

Nelson also speculated that lead service lines could prove to be an issue for homeowners when they go to sell their homes in the future, costing money then as well if a buyer requests that they be replaced before completing the sale.

Alderman Jim Sedlacek agreed that making lead replacement mandatory during a street project would be cheaper for property owners than doing it on their own at a different time. He encouraged residents to contact their council member to express their feelings one way or the other on the issue.

Council President Charles Hansen cited the city of Sheboygan Falls, which is requiring homeowners to replace lead service lines and offering an incentive for those who do.

“I believe we’re going in the right direction, but I kind of like the Sheboygan Falls model,” Hansen commented.

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