Eau Claire (WQOW) - Eau Claire officials said there are nearly 800 lead water pipes that need replacing in the city. And soon, the city council will vote on an ordinance that would require them to be fixed when they're discovered.
The areas in orange (on the map pictured) are where the city believes there are lead pipes. Under the ordinance, once a lead pipe is discovered, both the city and home or business owner would be required to replace it.
In those cases, the city would use a DNR grant to reimburse the owner up to $2,000.
Jeff Pippenger, Eau Claire community services director, said it's not a matter of if they'll break, but when. He said the pipes range anywhere from 85 to 135 years old.
Pippenger added replacing the pipelines are necessary because if lead leaches into the water, it can pose a huge health risk.
"It's well documented that it does have an impact at low and high levels of causing issues with the development, both the brain and the nervous system development, in babies and young children," said Pippenger.
Pippenger said they've already begun replacing lead pipes, but changing all the lead lines will take several years. The Eau Claire City Council will vote on the ordinance on Tuesday, January 14.