May 17, 2024 at 3:30 p.m.

North Branch asks residents to check service lines for lead


By DENISE MARTIN | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment
News

The City of North Branch has a couple ways for residents to get involved in determining how extensive  lead water service lines are within the city.  One method is to have the  city staff set up an appointment for someone to come to your home and check if the water service line is made of galvanized, copper, or of lead. 

If your service line is obviously plastic, just let the city know this status at the contact number in this story.

The other method is to check your line yourself.

Federal and state governments are behind a massive program to eliminate lead lines in the nation’s water systems. The material is toxic in certain uses and can build up in bloodstreams of the very young and cause learning losses.  (See Sen Tina Smith column on page three  this week.)

Municipalities throughout Minnesota have been notified they must file a report with state regulators by  mid-summer on the inventroy of local lead lines. 

The reports will be prioritized, first come first serve, in order to distribute grants fo projects that qualify to get  funding for line replacement costs. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency needs state data by August 2024.

If you are able to proceed on your own and don’t need a city staff person to come on-site; in North Branch residents are encouraged to do a scratch test on water service lines that are not obviously plastic.  This self-test process is described on a form you can submit,  via the city website as well as instructions for what to do.

For a DIY test you need a magnet, (a small refrigerator magnet will do the trick.) Use a screwdriver or a key to put a scratch on the water service line that enters your house, that has a valve on it and is attached to a meter.

If the magnet sticks to the scratched area, you have galvanized pipe.  

If the magnet drops off and doesn’t stick, you have a lead service line.  

If you can see a shiny penny-color when you make a scratch then the line is copper.

The city asks that you submit your findings on the form on the North Branch website.

Or call 674-8113 to make an appointment for a staff person to make a site visit.

Once the information has been collected the city will develop a replacement plan for affected parts of the city,  and seek outside funding from state and federal sources.



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