Assistance Available to Replace Water Laterals at No Cost

Sturgeon Bay – The City of Sturgeon Bay will receive up to $750,000 through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program administered by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to replace private galvanized or iron-alloy water-service lines.

The Sturgeon Bay Common Council approved a resolution last week authorizing a financial-assistance agreement with the DNR in the form of a loan made to the city, for which all the principal will be forgiven. Jeff Hoffman, operations manager with Sturgeon Bay Utilities, said what amounts to a grant will cover the cost of replacing private laterals for utility customers free of charge.

Hoffman said areas of the city with homes constructed around 1950 or earlier typically had galvanized water laterals installed.

“We’re sending out letters to certain areas of town right now to get into those homes, schedule an appointment and look to see what kind of pipe is coming into the basement or crawl space,” he said. “We can go right down by the water meter and look at that pipe. It’s either typically copper or galvanized.”

Hoffman said the city has been proactive during the past couple of decades in removing lead water-service lines.

“In about 2017, we completed that project, and this is the next step in that process” to provide safe drinking water, he said. “If there are any galvanized lines that are still left in the system, those would have been downstream of a lead lateral at one time. That’s why the DNR and the City of Sturgeon Bay want to target those galvanized line replacements. Not that there’s any lead left in the system, but that’s the next step in our program.”

Under the program, Hoffman said the city is hoping 150 private water-service lines will be replaced this year.