FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – The White House says the bipartisan infrastructure framework, agreed to in principle by Democrats and Republicans in Congress would pay to replace all of the nation’s lead service lines and pipes.
That includes what the White House estimated is 270,000 lead service lines and pipes in Texas.
CBS 11 checked to see how many lead service lines are in the three largest cities in North Texas.
For five years now, crews with the Fort Worth Water Department have been digging up and replacing lead service lines across the city.
The service lines connect homes and businesses to the water main.
The city started doing so as the federal government discussed a new rule requiring water systems to develop an inventory of lead service lines and pipes.
Mary Gugliuzza, Media Relations Coordinator for the Fort Worth Water Department said, “Let’s go ahead and determine how much lead do we really have in our system because we didn’t know the answer to the question.”
The city has identified whether its service lines have lead by having crews look inside every water meter in the city.
Gugliuzza said through last month, out of its more than 277,000 water meters, crews have inspected 88 percent of them.
They found 1,814 of its service lines had lead, and so far, crews have replaced 1,473 of them.
The city also found lead in only ten homes and businesses’ private service lines.
Fort Worth is ahead of the game.
The federal government’s new rule goes into effect this December, and all water systems will be required to report lead service lines and pipes three years after that.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the infrastructure deal will help water systems across the country.
“It will replace all of those pipes. And that is absolutely our plan, that’s going to put a lot of people back to work in Texas. It’s also going to make sure kids have access to clean drinking water,” she said.
Gugliuzza said after checking the water meters at schools, it didn’t find any lead in its service lines there.
Fort Worth hopes to complete its project by the end of next year.
If federal money comes after that, Gugliuzza said the city still has a plan for it.
“We’re hoping this money does become available that we would be able to access it and use it to help these customers pay for these private plumbing changes they will need under the new rule.”
The city said it notifies all of its customers when it identifies and replaces lead service lines, and offers a free test for lead in the water.
The water departments in the cities of Dallas and Arlington said they don’t have lead service lines.