MENASHA, Wis. (AP) -- Menasha aldermen have rejected a proposal requiring homeowners to replace lead service lines on their properties at their own expense, saying it's unacceptable.
Property owners could've paid between $800 and $2,500 to replace the lines, even though the city has received a $300,000 state grant to help reimburse property owners for some of the costs, The Post-Crescent reported. Water utility manager Tim Gosz said the utility plans to pursue more grant funding for 2018.
Menasha Utilities officials estimate there are 1,200 to 1,500 lead service lines on private properties.
Lead service lines have been in the spotlight since scientists found Flint, Michigan, residents were exposed to elevated lead levels when the toxic metal leached into water from lead pipes. Lead can be dangerous for children and expectant mothers, causing things like brain and kidney damage, increased blood pressure, deficits in attention span and hearing, and learning disabilities.
"I'd be concerned that this body only feels abatement is only important when grant dollars are involved," said Alderman Marshall Spencer, who voted in favor of the plan. "I called it a good step forward but not a total solution before. The science is not debatable, it's real.
"Anybody who doesn't understand that, just spend a little time on Google and you'll see a whole lot."
The American Water Works Association said there are an estimated 6.1 million lead service lines across the nation.