Minnesota officials confident the State's water is safe from lead contamination

- Preventing a water crisis like the one plaguing the people of Flint, Michigan is what representatives at St. Paul Regional Water Services say trickles down to consistent prevention.

“Our strategy is to make sure that our water does not dissolve or corrode this lead pipe,” said Jim Bode from St. Paul Regional Water Services. “We sure don’t want to have that happen here.”

Bode is the division manager and said he’s confident the water here is safe. Bode is fully aware of the area’s water source and treatment system, but says homeowners should be to.

“Anything built prior to 1927 you may, not guaranteed, but you may have a lead pipe connecting your home connecting to the water main out in the street,” Bode said.

12,000 lead pipe connections remain in St. Paul alone. Filters are only a short term solution, and replacing lead connections can cost homeowners several thousand dollars.

“There’s a chance you can dissolve or pick up lead from this pipe and then bring it into your home and into your glass of water,” Bode said.

Educators at the Department of Health say only two of the 963 water systems exceeded lead action levels in 2014.  But when it comes to corrosion, investment will be needed.

“Minnesota is going to have to invest $7.4 billion over the next 20 years in its drinking water system to keep it from failing,” said Stew Thornely a health educator with the Minnesota Department of Health.

Like Bode, others remain confident the chances of the National Guard having to pass out clean water are low.

“Never say never, but in terms of lead leaching from the system we have a very robust program and I’m confident in our ability to control lead in our system,” said Glen Gerads Director of Minneapolis’ Water Treatment and Distribution.

If you know you own an older home and live in St. Paul you can reach out to folks at St. Paul Regional Water Services. They can test your water and help you finance a lead connection replacement plan. Experts say that connection replacement is the ultimate long term solution to making sure those toxins don't leak into your supply.


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