Multi-Year Program Could be Accelerated with Federal Funding
INDIANAPOLIS – Citizens Energy Group has received an order from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission (IURC) granting permission to implement a comprehensive multi-year program to replace water service lines made of lead. Water service lines are the pipes that connect a home or business to the utility’s water main and are owned by the customer. The approved program will include replacement of the service line located both in the public right-of-way and on the customer’s property up to the home.
A recent update to the U.S. EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule requires all water utilities to develop lead service line replacement programs prior to October 16, 2024. Citizens’ plan is designed to proactively align with the revised rule.
The IURC has approved $22.7 million for the first 5-year phase of the program that would replace customer-owned lead service lines at approximately 2,500 homes. Starting in mid-May, most residential customers can expect an increase of about 50 cents on their monthly bills, with some customers paying 75 cents, based on meter size. Citizens estimates it would need to invest about $490 million to fully replace all customer-owned lead service lines, which are commonly present in homes built before 1950 in Indianapolis. However, the cost of the program to Citizens customers would be reduced, and the number of lines replaced per year accelerated, if federal funding is secured from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or other federal assistance programs.
Citizens President & CEO Jeffrey Harrison said, “We are excited to launch our lead service line replacement program. Citizens has no active water mains containing lead, and this program is designed to eliminate any lead piping owned by customers between the water main and the customer’s home. This program will help minimize lead exposure risk to customers associated with these legacy piping materials.”
Water in Citizens’ reservoirs, treatment plants, and distribution system does not contain lead. Citizens regularly monitors tap water in accordance with U.S. EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule, and these results demonstrate that levels are below the action levels established in the rule. On rare occasions, elevated lead levels are found in individual customer tap water samples due to lead leaching from customer-owned service lines and/or plumbing fixtures. When this occurs, customers are provided information on mitigation measures, such as filters, that they can utilize to ensure their water is safe.
In addition to regular water monitoring, Citizens takes steps during the water treatment process to ensure finished drinking water has the proper pH, or acidity, to protect against lead leaching out of customer-owned lead service lines and plumbing.
For more information on Citizens’ lead service line replacement program, visit our website.
About Citizens Energy Group
Citizens Energy Group provides safe and reliable utility services to about 800,000 people in the Indianapolis area. Citizens operates its utilities for the benefit of customers and the community.