A city report recommends a 15 year timeline and $ 36 million budget to replace all lead plumbing in Regina.
The report was unanimously supported by the Operations and Services Committee on Wednesday afternoon, albeit with some debates. The report is now going to the city council. If approved, the plan would see all work by 2036.
Councilor Cheryl Stadnichuk wanted the schedule to be postponed to an option of 10 instead of 15 years, which would mean higher costs.
“It’s the health risks that we have to take seriously and try to address as soon as possible. Some people think 10 years is too long,” Stadnichuk told the committee.
In the end, Stadnichuk tabled an amendment that was rejected by fellow council members on the committee Bob Hawkins, Lori Bresciani and Landon Mohl. Hawkins and Bresciani discussed how they support the 15-year plan to tie pipe replacement to existing road projects.
“In all fairness, this is long overdue,” said Andrew Stevens, Ward 3 alderman. Twenty percent of the lead pipes in his ward are in the neighborhood of the cathedral.
Stevens said this has been a decades-long problem, and the proposed timeframe balances infrastructure requirements, blueprints, and affordability.
The report states that several factors determine how much lead is present in tap water, including the condition of the plumbing line for the lead supply. Any water that comes in contact with lead can leak lead into drinking water and pose a risk to anyone who drinks it.
Mandatory replacement of private pipes recommended
The report also recommended that the city make it mandatory for people to replace their private plumbing when the city replaces the public ones.
This means the homeowners would be hooked for the cost. There are approximately 3,600 urban lead pipe connections in Regina, but approximately 7,000 to 8,000 lead pipe connections. The city estimates homeowners will pay a total of $ 50 to 70 million.
“There are certainly homeowners out there who will struggle to prepay for all of this,” he said. “At the same time, we have to invest in infrastructure, and part of that cost is borne by these residents.”
The city will have payment options for homeowners. It can take up to 10 years for you to pay it off and apply it to your property tax.
According to the city report, it has been shown that a disruption of the private connection of the line service without a complete replacement increases the lead content in tap water.
Stevens said in his area that he was concerned that residential property owners would not be able to replace their lead pipes unless it was mandatory.
“My concern that we have not mandated private replacement could easily be forgotten by landlords who charge income from these properties. I think this is one that is fair, I would argue, from a public standpoint Health. “
The report says that if the committee and the council do not approve the plan, work will be delayed. It is also recommended to increase utility costs by two percent in 2022 and 2023, which is about $ 6.40 per month for the average resident.