Lead Remediation: Cities Asked, We Answered 

October 6, 2022
lead workshops

This spring, 50% of the grant applications that HBBF and our partner — the Mayors Innovation Project — received were designed to address lead remediation. Funding was not available for all these worthy projects, but the need and interest were clear.

So in response, we connected with ten partner organizations involved in exemplary lead remediation projects — and those with savvy approaches to leveraging historic infrastructure funding —  to design four virtual workshops that will help cities leverage federal funds and replicate successful models of lead remediation.

Our first workshop kicked off on September 29, and our panelists explored how cities, particularly small cities, can develop competitive proposals for infrastructure funding to replace lead service lines with healthy service lines.

A powerful resource is the Local Infrastructure Hub, a national program designed to connect cities with the data and expert advice needed to access federal infrastructure funding to drive local progress, improve communities, and deliver results for residents. 

Another tip from our experts?

“This is really the prime time to do some coalition building around lead exposure and remediating lead from our environment,” says Richard Diaz, Midwest Regional Field Organizer at the BlueGreen Alliance and Chair of the Coalition on Lead Emergency in Milwaukee. “In terms of community engagement, Newark attributes their ability to hire from the neighborhood as a means for workers to make connections with folks from the neighborhood to facilitate lead service line replacement.”

The panelists highlighted the importance of selecting inert material for new water service lines installed as part of lead service line replacement (LSLR). Municipalities must share what material they are using for LSLR, and innovation related to non-toxic and durable replacement pipes is required as a broader strategy to ensure we aren’t solving one problem by creating another.

What’s next?

Our next virtual workshop on October 13 at 4pm EST features the Bright City of Denver in conversation with Cleveland Water and a powerful community advocate from Newark. Together, our three panelists will share successful models of prioritizing LSLR for sensitive populations. 

It’s not too late to register!

How To Couple Lead and Mold Remediation with Energy Efficiency Programs: November 3 at 4pm EST (Register)

Where are opportunities to integrate lead mitigation into strategic initiatives?

A collaborative team from Madison, WI — who merged their city’s energy efficiency program for renter-occupied buildings with lead and mold abatement assistance — will share their experience in our third workshop. Madison’s resulting “Building Navigator” programs restructured an existing program focused on energy efficiency to one focused on whole-home needs and health. Learn how to get started in your community.

Replacing Lead Service Lines While Protecting Workers & Residents: December 8 at 4pm EST (Register)

New federal funding for lead service line replacement (LSLR) has been called game-changing, transformational, and the “single largest investment in water ever made.”

But getting the lead out of drinking water can put the lead into the bodies of the men and women doing the replacement work. A skilled safety-trained workforce is essential to prevent hazardous exposure to workers and community residents. Join us in conversation with leading industry experts to navigate removing lead from pipes without creating other safety and health problems.

Grant Program Deadline: November 18

To help operationalize the learning shared in these workshops, Brights Cities will award five $15,000 pilot grants for city-led equitable lead mitigation pilot projects. Applications are due November 18.