Rhode Island has received an additional $3.3 million to help fund the replacement of thousands of lead pipes in the state. Lawmakers believe that removing all existing lead pipes should have already happened. Lead service lines can lead to lead seeping into the water supply which can be especially harmful to pregnant women and children. Although the US Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of lead pipes in new construction in 1986, an estimated 30,000 lead service lines are still in use in Rhode Island. The state has plans to replace these over the next five years with the help of $141 million from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Rhode Island Senate President, Dominick Ruggerio, introduced the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act which aims to create a lead water supply replacement program for both public and private service lines statewide, ensuring financial assistance is provided to communities and property owners. Ruggerio expects the legislation to pass the R.I. General Assembly later this month. North Providence has taken advantage of state and federal funding to replace 102 lead service lines since 2016 and plans to continue with replacements this spring with the help of a $218,000 federal grant.

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