U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar, Tina Smith Announce Federal Funding to Identify, Replace Minnesota’s Lead Pipes

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith (both D-Minn.) announced Minnesota will receive historic funding to identify and replace lead pipes across the state. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, drinking, breathing, eating or touching food, water and other materials that contain lead can damage the brain, kidneys, and nervous system. In children, lead can also slow development or cause learning, behavior, and hearing problems. Minnesota is receiving a total of $86,566,000 from Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which Klobuchar and Smith helped pass, to support the Biden Administration’s goal of replacing every lead pipe in America.

“Lead exposure from aging water pipes is dangerous and it’s long past time for an upgrade,” said Senator Klobuchar. “With this federal funding, Minnesota will identify and replace old service lines to protect our water supply from lead contamination.”

“Minnesotans know the value of clean water—in fact, we were the first state to put statewide water quality standards in place over 50 years ago,” said Senator Smith. “This is an investment in the health and safety of Minnesota families, including families living in underserved communities who have historically been left out of infrastructure upgrades. I was proud to support the President’s legislation to deliver this funding.” 

“All Minnesotans should have access to safe, clean drinking water. Right now, there are more than 100,000 lead water service lines around our state leaching lead into drinking water and threatening our health,” said Minnesota Department of Health Commissioner Brooke Cunningham. “We are tremendously grateful to the Environmental Protection Agency for their support and funding to tackle this critical issue. Last year I was proud to work with Governor Walz to secure an investment of more than $240 million at the state level to ensure that these needed replacements did not come at a burdensome cost to homeowners, and today’s announcement from the EPA ensures that even more Minnesotans will not have to choose between costly repairs to aging infrastructure and safe drinking water for their families.”  

Lead pipes can be found across Minnesota. In Minneapolis, almost 75 percent of kids who test positive for lead are kids of color. Last year, 95,000 residents in Saint Paul received notice that the city detected elevated levels of lead in their drinking water, which the city attributed to lead pipes running from residents’ water mains in their street to their homes. Similar reports of dangerous lead levels have been reported in Rochester and Duluth in the last several years. This funding complements legislation passed by the Minnesota State Legislature, which dedicated $240 million to replacing every lead pipe in the state in the next 10 years.