Olathe gets $2.3M KDHE loan to replace lead and steel pipes

Olathe has accepted a $2.3 million loan from the state to support its efforts to replace lead and galvanized steel water pipes.

Last Tuesday, the Olathe City Council voted 7-0 in favor of it Accept loan funds from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. Olathe operates its own municipal water utility independent of WaterOne.

The loan comes from the state’s revolving loan fund, which Mayor John Bacon said is designed to help communities protect and improve the health and safety of local public water supplies.

In the case of Olathe, the money goes to the City pipe replacement and education program. Nearly half of the loan – about 49% – will later be eligible for forgiveness.

Olathe has been dealing with lead pipes for years

In accordance with the requirements of the Federal Lead and Copper RevisionOlathe has been working for the past several years to replace any remaining water service lines that are made of lead or galvanized steel.

The federal government has banned the use of lead water pipes in new construction projects decades ago But until recentlyThere were no rules requiring water utilities to keep track of the location of such pipes. There were also no regulations requiring the removal of lead-containing water pipes.

Olathe City Hall is located at 100 Santa Fe St. in downtown Olathe. Photo credit Kaylie McLaughlin

According to the city’s pipe replacement and education website, the health effects of lead exposure through drinking water can cause chronic illness, damage the kidneys and brain, and “impair the production of red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all parts of the body.” Galvanized steel pipes can also introduce lead into the water over time due to corrosion.

Other than that, Olathe has anti-corrosion measures designed to prevent lead particles from entering the water.

The KDHE loan will help cover the cost of replacing about 230 water mains in high-poverty neighborhoods, Bacon said last week. He and newly installed Councilman Matthew Schoonover both praised city staff for being proactive in applying for the loan in 2022.

Next Steps:

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