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Environmental Loans (EL) Private Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement Funding Program

The Wisconsin DNR established a two-year program (SFY 2017 and SFY 2018) to assist disadvantaged municipalities in replacing lead service lines on private property for projects that result in full lead service line (LSL) replacements. Funding for LSL replacement on private property is in the form of Principal Forgiveness (PF), which means no debt is incurred on behalf of the municipality for these funds. Traditional Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) funding can be used for replacing lead service lines under the control of the municipality.

Private Lead Service Line (LSL) Program background

LSL program description

The SDWLP Intended Use Plans (IUPs) provide a description of the Private LSL Replacement Funding Program, including the methodology used to allocate the funding in each state fiscal year (SFY). Funding for this program was only available for SFY 2017 and SFY 2018; projects were required to result in full lead service line replacements. Municipalities have three years from the date of their loan closing to expend funds for the LSL program.

The program was intended to assist individuals in disadvantaged municipalities since user rates were not allowed to be used to replace the private portion of the lead service line. The program policies were established with participation from the Wisconsin Departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Administration (DOA) and the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) to ensure each respective agency's requirements were met.

SFY 2017 projects

Thirty-five municipalities were awarded private LSL replacement funding in SFY 2017.

SFY 2018 projects

Thirty municipalities submitted applications for private LSL replacement funding in SFY 2018. These municipalities have until June 27, 2018 to close on their Financial Assistance Agreements (FAAs).

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LSL Program Implementation

Municipalities have options for how they establish a private LSL replacement program, with the understanding that the LSL PF can only be used for the cost of replacing private LSLs that result in the full replacement of the lead service line for that property. There are a number of things that need to be considered when deciding how to set up a private LSL replacement program [PDF].

Private LSL replacements can be done:

  • to make prior partial service line replacements "full";
  • as planned road and public watermain replacements occur;
  • at licensed/certified daycare centers and pre-K-12 schools.

Private LSL replacement can be accomplished through a municipal contract or through a municipal program where the homeowners contract directly with a plumber/contractor from a prequalified list.

Note: The Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) licenses plumbers and enforces the state plumbing codes.

Municipal program with prequalified list of plumbers

Under this option the municipality issues a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in order to prequalify plumbers/contractors for participation in the private LSL replacement program (see Prequalification Considerations [PDF]). Homeowners contract directly with a plumber from the prequalified list and then are either reimbursed by the municipality or the municipality can pay the plumber directly on the homeowner's behalf.

Municipal Programs were the most requested option under the private LSL replacement program. Municipalities developed their own criteria for the programs, including:

  • Funds distribution based on the age of the children in the home;
  • Funds distribution based on household income;
  • Fully-funded private LSL replacement;
  • Cost-shared private LSL replacement;
  • Funds made available through a revolving loan program (note that funds must revolve until all private LSLs in the municipality have been replaced);
  • Voluntary homeowner participation; and
  • Mandatory homeowner participation.

Municipal contract

Under this option the municipality bids out the private LSL replacement work through their normal municipal contracting process. All costs are paid directly by the municipality who coordinates the timing of the private LSL replacement with the homeowner.

Cost eligibility & project eligibility

The private LSL replacement program can be used for costs associated with private homes, pre-K-12 schools, and licensed/certified day care centers. It does not cover costs for replacing private lead service lines to commercial and business properties, except in instances where a building contains both a business and a residence. All associated costs for private LSL replacement are eligible for funding, including: investigative costs, engineering costs (prorated if part of a larger project), force account, etc.

The public portion of the service line is eligible for regular SDWLP program funding (loans and, if applicable, regular principal forgiveness). Funds cannot be used to replace interior plumbing and/or fixtures containing lead.

In addition to lead service lines, the private LSL replacement program can fund the cost of removing lead goosenecks and galvanized service lines that have been served by lead lines/pipes in the past. A "gooseneck" is a short segment of pipe (under the street) that connects the water main to the service line. These all can contribute to elevated lead levels in the water.

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Federal requirements

Private Lead Service Line (LSL) Replacement projects are federally funded; therefore, federal requirements apply.

Davis-Bacon (Federal) Wage Rates

Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) solicitation

  • DBE Solicitation Guidance is available on our website.
  • For Municipal Programs – required as part of the plumber prequalification process and if any subcontracting is done.
  • For Municipal Contracts – required as part of the bidder solicitation process and if any subcontracting is done.
  • Suggested language for bid advertisement or plumber prequalification: “We encourage DBEs, including MBEs and WBEs, to submit bid proposals/apply for the purpose of being included on the municipality’s list of prequalified plumbers for the Private Lead Service Line replacement program.”

Environmental Review (ER)

Use of American Iron and Steel (UAIS)

  • This requirement may not effect LSL replacement projects but must still be included.
  • Plumbers on a prequalified list or bidders on a municipal contract should certify to the following: “All materials used in the project are in full compliance with the use of American Iron and Steel requirement as mandated in EPA’s State Revolving Fund programs.”
  • See our UAIS webpage for further guidance.

Disbursement form

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Contact information
Direct questions about the private Lead Service Line (LSL) replacement funding program to:
Becky Scott
Direct questions about the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) to:
Nicole (Mathews) Fuentes
Safe Drinking Water Loan Program (SDWLP) coordinator

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Last revised: Friday May 17 2019