Public Lead Safety Initiative Moves Forward

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A resolution increasing education about lead-in-water has been recommended for approval by the Milwaukee Public Works Committee. Alderman Tony Zielinski, who sponsored the legislation, says the Milwaukee Water Works will be required to provide lead safety public education materials to occupants of the properties serviced by lead lines on an annual basis.

Before the resolution, renters did not receive lead education materials on how to protect their families from the toxic effects of lead.

The measure is the latest in efforts by Ald. Zielinski and Sherrie Tussler, who both co-chair the Milwaukee Nutrition & Lead Task Force. It is a companion to Ald. Zielinski’s legislation in 2017 that requires greater educational efforts from the City’s Health Department about lead-in-water.

The resolution that passed on March 7 would direct the Milwaukee Water Works to match the same standards as the Health Department regarding notifications. This includes drinking water safety initiatives, websites, social media messaging, printed materials and outdoor and media advertisements.

Ald. Zielinski said the resolution also requires Water Works to promote NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified lead filters as the most thorough means of lead-water safety and requires a warning to the public of the risk of exposure from failing to adhere to flushing guidelines.

“Exposure to lead can damage the kidneys, nervous system and reproductive system,” said Ald. Zielinski “Lead is especially harmful to fetuses and young people whose brains are in development, potentially compromising their ability to learn for the rest of their lives.”

Lead service lines make up about 74,600 properties in the city, including 68,300 residential. In total, that’s about 54% of all residential properties in the city.

The legislation will now go before the full Common Council when it meets at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27 in the third floor Common Council Chamber at City Hall, 200 E. Wells St.

Source: Milwaukee Courier