Clean Water for Erie: Biden Infrastructure Law to Fund Lead Pipe Removal

Getty Images: Douglas Sacha

By Sean Kitchen

September 7, 2023

Residents living in and around Erie will now have access to cleaner drinking water thanks to President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The Erie Water Works received $30 million in federal funding to remove lead pipes.

The City of Erie will now be able to replace lead pipes thanks to $30 million in federal funding.

$6.5 million of the funding comes from the Water Infrastructure Fund Transfer Act and the remaining $24 million comes from President Joe Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. $5 million of that funding is made up of low-interest loans.

“This is a giant step in the right direction,” said US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania). “Any public official in a Commonwealth like ours has a constitutional duty to provide that kind of funding for basic infrastructure. Clean water is a right.”

Following last week’s press conference highlighting the funding for the project, Casey told Your Erie that the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act made it possible for Erie to get the resources it needs to replace the pipes, but it’s part of the that hasn’t got much attention.

“Erie got a head start but sometimes in some years when they could only replace maybe 100 lines now they can increase that because of the additional funding,” Casey said to the outlet.

Erie will now be able to replace up to 85% of the lead-contaminated water lines by 2025.

The Erie Times News reported on Thursday that the total cost of the project could be as much as $50 million by the time it is completed. In order to fill in the funding gap, the Erie City Council approved a $2 million loan for the Erie Water Works from the Pennsylvania Infrastructure Investment Authority (PENNVEST) on Wednesday.

Paul Vojtek, the CEO of Erie Water Works, stated that the project is currently 35% to 40% finished.

The Erie Water Works has close to 63,000 residential, industrial and institutional customers in Erie, Lawrence Park Township, Wesleyville and Millcreek Township.

 

Author

  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.

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