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Bulk Water Fill up
Storm Water Fee
Cross Connection Control
Lead in Drinking Water
Private Lead Service Replacement Program
Public Fire Protection
Water Main Construction
The Racine Water Utility has instituted a rebate program to assist home owners in replacing their lead water services. The water service line is the pipe between the water main under the street and the meter inside your house. The water service from the water main in the street to the sidewalk is publicly owned, and the water service from the sidewalk into the meter in the basement is privately owned. Many older homes in Racine and across the country, typically those built before the early 1940s, were built with lead service lines. Some limited funding is being made available to assist homeowners in replacing the privately owned portion of the service line through the State of Wisconsin with special funds from Congress. Assistance will be in the form of a rebate payment made directly to a plumber, up to a maximum amount currently estimated to be $3,750. This program to phase out lead service lines is voluntary and, after the rebate, comes at little to no cost to homeowners.
The water leaving the Racine water treatment plant and moving through the mains is virtually lead-free. Lead enters drinking water as a result of corrosion in lead service lines and in older household plumbing. The Water Utility has been treating its water with a small amount of an ortho-phosphate blend to minimize corrosiveness for more than 20 years. The corrosion control treatment is safe for human health and helps build a protective coating on the inside of metallic pipes and plumbing fixtures. (The recent crisis in Flint, Michigan resulted from corrosion from a new water source entering lead pipes without proper treatment.)
The Racine Water Utility has operated a monitoring program of lead levels within homes since 1993 to ensure the effectiveness of its corrosion control process. Racine water has remained consistent in compliance with Environmental Protection Agency standards. Replacing lead service lines, however, is considered the best approach moving forward.
The Utility has been assisting homeowners with lead removal since the fall of 2016, when it first began its Private Lead Service Line Replacement Program. The Program is funded by the Department of Natural Resources on an annual basis, and is used to replace lead services in targeted areas or in emergency situations. Because funding is limited, only those homeowners who receive an invitation from the Utility are eligible for the program. Those homeowners who do receive an invitation are strongly encouraged to take advantage of this program and in most cases can have their lead services replaced for free. For further information on your water service material type, size, and age, please access the Utility’s public service inventory mapping system at:
Homeowners in areas where public service replacements are to be performed will be given the highest priority for disbursement of limited State funds, followed by homeowners who have an actively leaking private service, and then followed by homeowners whose publicly owned portion is already copper and have been chosen to participate via a lottery system. This rebate program only applies to homeowners with lead or galvanized iron private water services. Funding may be limited and will be dispersed on a first come, first serve basis. LLC-owned properties and other properties commercial in nature are not eligible.
Some homes may have copper in the basement at the floor or wall penetration, but the remainder of the water service may still be lead. The Utility will be able to better document service types once our contractor digs up the sidewalk and exposes the private water services at those areas that are scheduled for public service replacements. The Utility will deliver flyers to certain homeowners informing them of our findings as construction progresses. Flyers will be mailed to owners of rental properties.
Plumbers must first prequalify with the Utility before being eligible to take part in the Rebate Program, and can do this by filling out a Prequalification Form at the Racine Water Utility office at 800 Center Street, Room 227.
To see a list of plumbers who have prequalified to date,
please click here. Plumbers not on this list may still take part in the Rebate Program so long as they prequalify before performing the work.
For more information to become a prequalified plumber click here.
Prior to performing any private service replacements, the plumbing contractor and homeowner shall sign an
addendum, as supplied by the Utility, to ensure that both parties understand the conditions of the Rebate Program.
Rebate payments will be made directly to the plumbing contractor, up to a maximum of $3,750 with any additional amount due from the homeowner. Plumbing contractors will need to complete a Plumbing Permit Application with the City of Racine Plumbing Department prior to performing any work. Rebates will not be paid until the work has been inspected and found to be in compliance with Plumbing Department requirements.
The City of Racine has also instituted a loan-interest loan program to assist homeowners cover any costs over the $3,750 rebate limit. Click *HERE* for further information on the City’s loan program.
For those locations scheduled for public service replacements the Utility’s contractor will replace the publicly owned portions in the street, terminating at the curb stop valve which is typically located in the parkway or sidewalk area. The Utility’s contractor is not obligated to keep the curb stop valve excavation open for access and use by the private plumber, and may, at their own discretion, backfill this area immediately upon completing their work. Additionally, the Utility’s contractor may opt to perform final restoration, including turf and sidewalk restoration, immediately after completing the public service replacement. Plumbers should include in their proposal to homeowners the cost to re-excavate the curb stop valve, as well as costs associated with restoration of turf, sidewalk, or other disturbed surfaces.
Homeowners and plumbers are encouraged to replace private water services as soon as the public portions have been completed.
Replacing a lead line may actually temporarily increase the lead levels in the water, for a short time, due to the existing lead particles being disturbed by the construction process. Lead levels typically return to lower concentrations as the RWU corrosion inhibitor recoats the pipeline and any loosened particles are flushed away.To protect its consumers, the Racine Water Utility recommends and is offering free water sampling following water service line replacement for your property.
Your cooperation and involvement is needed in order to collect the water sample for testing. Sampling is easy and instructions for the collection of the sample will be given when we drop off the sample bottle. Sampling should be conducted within 72 hours of the partial lead service line replacement. The samples are highly recommended to provide information on the amount of lead in your drinking water and the affect the service line replacement may have on those levels. The RWU strongly urges customers with lead service lines, especially those who recently had part or all of their lead service replaced, to run water at their kitchen or bathroom faucets for 30 seconds to 2 minutes after any period (6 – 8 hours) of water non-use. This is the easiest way for a homeowner to reduce or eliminate exposure to lead through the drinking water.
If you would like your water sampled after the replacement of our portion of the lead service line, please contact the Utility in one of the following ways:
Please contact Chad Regalia, the Water Utility’s Chief Engineer, with any questions.
He can be reached via phone at 262-497-4611, or via email at
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