A multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure plan proposed by the Biden administration includes $45 billion in funding to replace lead pipes and sewer lines, a feature that could protect thousands of Hoosier children from lead contamination.
The $2 trillion “American Jobs Plan” would invest in infrastructure projects like road and bridge improvements, public transit, climate resilience and clean energy job training programs and other projects over eight years.
The plan, if approved by Congress, would include $45 billion in U.S Environmental Protection Agency Drinking Water State Revolving Fund loans and federal Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act grants to eliminate all lead pipes and service lines in the country.
“Today, up to 10 million homes in America and more than 400,000 schools and childcare centers have pipes with lead in them, including in drinking water – a clear and present danger to our children’s health,” President Joe Biden said during an address to a joint session of Congress in April. “The American Jobs Plan creates jobs replacing 100% of the nation’s lead pipes and services lines so every American can drink clean water, and, in the process, it will create thousands and thousands of good paying jobs.”
If the lead pipe removal facet of the plan survives the long trek through both houses of Congress, it could address a problem some experts have called “a ticking time bomb” in Indiana and other industrial and lower-income parts of the country.
“As we saw from Flint and Washington, D.C. before that, and in Paterson, New Jersey now, all of these systems are just waiting to poison kids, if you’re not careful,” said Gabriel Filippelli, director of Indiana University Purdue University’s Center for Urban Health.