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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The capital city is working to improve the quality of water for its residents by offering to replace their private water pipes for free.

Providence Water said it will replace 23,000 private water pipes at no cost, as well as 9,000 public water pipes, in an attempt to eliminate risk factors for lead poisoning and improve quality of life.

Providence councilwoman Mary Kay Harris said the average cost to replace a private water pipe is $4,500.

Providence Water said it has invested $78 million over the last 15 years to finance the water pipe replacements.

Mayor Brett Smiley said that, while the city has some of the best drinking water in the country, it’s important to ensure no lead is seeping into the water supply.

“We’ve made great progress replacing lead lines in the middle of the street which we own, but the homeowner owns from the curb in, and it’s been a cost barrier in the past,” Smiley said.

Providence Water is also offering a 0% tenure loan for the neighborhoods not included in the free water pipe replacements. The tenure loan would bring the cost down to as low as $40 a month.

“You can’t have a world-class city without first-rate water,” Smiley continued. “As part of the country is struggling with serious drinking water problems, it’s such an asset to have Providence Water and this resource available to us.”

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