Fergus Falls city officials testing water pipes in some homes for lead

FERGUS FALLS, Minn. (KVRR) — Fergus Falls homeowners can expect a city employee to stop by their house to make sure there’s no lead in your water pipes.

The city of Fergus Falls says 400 homes built before 1985 will need a visual check to see what material the water pipe service lines are made of.

City officials have already begun visiting hundreds for a federally mandated inventory.

It’s part of President Biden’s Infrastructure plan targeting lead pipes that pose a risk to public health across the U.S.

It’s a simple process, where a city worker will come to a home, identifies themself and checks on the water line in a quick five minute test.

“It’s either a magnet test or a scrape test just to verify if it’s copper, lead or a galvanized pipe. If it is determined to be lead or galvanized, there’s a form we leave with the homeowner and it tells them that, ‘your pipe has been identified to be lead or galvanized. There will be grant funds, hopefully to help defray costs of replacing this line sometime in late 2024 or 2025,” says Public Works Director Len Taylor.

Taylor says they’ve already visited one hundred homes and hopes to have it finished by the end of the year.

“The inventory has to be done by October 2024. So, we’re just getting the jump on it and trying to get it done early on so that we know what we’re going to be up against and be at the table early on when the grant funds come available.”

He says if water pipes at home are damaged, people can hire an excavator to change water pipes on their own dime and adds grant funds should cover costs when they come in but Taylor says he’s not exactly sure how much.

To make sure lead is not likely to seep out of your water pipes, Taylor says to invest in filters.

“They can get a full house filtration system; you can get a point of consumption filtration system right out of the sink. Or, you can just use a pitcher filter, something as simple as that. All those filtration systems are very effective at removing the lead.”

According to the EPA’s new Lead and Copper rule, utilities will be forced to work with state officials to replace outdated pipes if contamination levels go above 10 parts per billion.

Categories: Local News, Minnesota News