Milwaukee mayor: Old homes need lead water filters

Homes built before 1951 should have filters
Posted at 6:35 AM, Sep 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-08 19:23:38-04

MILWAUKEE -- After a buzz of concern about comments from Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett about filtering water for lead, the Mayor said Thursday he was simply reiterating what the City has been saying for months.

The Mayor attended a water summit at Marquette University Wednesday, after which he said he restated that people should use water filters in their homes. That statement created concerns in Milwaukee and suburban areas which use the City's water.

"This is essentially what we said in February and repeatedly since then, but I think that there is value in repeating it over and over again," Barrett said.

However, the Mayor said not everyone has cause for concern. He said in February 2016, the City notified 70,000 homeowners that lead pipes go from the City water mains to their homes. Those pre-1951 homes may register low levels of lead as a result. 

"It's concerning, but it's not a surprise," said Cheri Talajkowski, a Shorewood homeowner.

In the notification letters, which TODAY'S TMJ4 has read, Milwaukee gives homeowners steps to prevent lead in drinking water, including using water filters.

"A home filtration system or water filtering pitcher may further reduce the possibility of lead entering your drinking water," said Barrett.

In a new budget, the mayor said he will outline a plan for replacing lead laterals around the City, a costly and lengthy process.

"There's a particular concern for infants and children under the age of six, because they are the most vulnerable. That is why, with the federal money that is being filtered with the state, we are going to set the priority to replacing the laterals at childcare centers," explained Barrett.

If you have concerns about lead pipes in your home, you can check those here