FLOW Act to help finance lead water pipe replacement

DENVER – Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet played a key role among Senate Democrats in introducing the Financing Lead Out of Water (FLOW) Act, which would make it easier for public utilities and cities to allow for the removal and replacement of all lead service lines (LSL). finance. .

“Coloradans deserve to know that the water they and their children drink is safe,” Bennet said. “Not only would this legislation help cut red tape, but it would also ease some of the financial burdens homeowners typically face when replacing their lead plumbing.”

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), between 6 and 10 million homes in the United States currently have lead water pipes, also known as LSLs. LSLs connect underground water mains to the internal plumbing systems of homes. Public utilities across the country are replacing publicly owned LSLs; However, replacement projects for private pipes serving homes have been slow to move due to the costly financial responsibility of replacing those lines.

The FLOW Act allows public water utilities to issue tax-exempt bonds to fund the removal and replacement of publicly and privately owned LSLs. This bill also helps raise funds for lead pipe replacements from the American Rescue Plan Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Bennet’s FLOW Act draws on the experience of Denver Water, a public water utility that funds the removal of all public and private LSLs at no cost to its customers. Denver Water found that issuing tax-exempt bonds required a costly and time-consuming analysis of its service area as part of the IRS’s “Private Business Use Test” to qualify for the tax exemption, adding months to its efforts. The FLOW Act aims to provide a solution to this problem for public water utilities.

“We should learn from Denver Water’s experience and leverage innovative financing to help eliminate lead piping in our communities entirely,” said Bennett.

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