Federal funding extends to Wisconsin as the state is slated to receive $139 million through the Safe Drinking Water Loan Program. The money will be allotted towards the improvement of its water infrastructure, $81.2 million of which will be used for the replacement of lead service lines. The city officials are hoping that the federal boost will accelerate this year’s goal of replacing 1,200 lead lines to eliminate the health risk that they bring to the community. 

Wisconsin Public Radio reported:

The program provides low-interest loans for communities and principal forgiveness, which the DNR said is essentially grant funding that doesn’t have to be paid back. The state typically receives around $20 million in base funding for the program from the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Jim Ritchie, director of the DNR’s Bureau of Community Financial Assistance.

The largest boost this year is funding for lead line replacement. Last year, Wisconsin received $48.3 million to replace lead lines. This year the state will get $81.2 million.

The funding also includes $13 million for emerging contaminants like PFAS. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a class of thousands of synthetic chemicals widely used by industry since the 1940s. They’ve been used in everyday products like nonstick cookware and firefighting foam. The chemicals don’t break down easily in the environment. Research shows high exposure to PFAS has been linked to kidney and testicular cancers, fertility issues, thyroid disease and reduced response to vaccines over time. A growing number of communities statewide have detected PFAS in public wells, including Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Wausau.