Jackson’s water is getting refreshed, one line at a time. This summer, the City of Jackson has been ramping up its Lead Service Line Replacement Program, using federal funds and a dedicated crew to replace lead lines all over Jackson.
The replacements are prompted by a 2018 State of Michigan law that orders water services to swap out all of their lead service lines in a reaction to the Flint Water Crisis. As of July 2023, the City of Jackson has replaced 476 lead lines, leaving 10,863 yet to be replaced. To make sure the lines are replaced as soon as possible, the City’s Department of Public Works (DPW) has assembled a crew that solely works on line replacements.
The team is first working through a list of properties that need partial replacements. These properties are receiving attention because only a portion of the water service line is made of lead. Crews fully remove the lead section and replace it with either copper or plastic pipes. Partial replacements are often easier to swap out and require less construction work, with crews digging in small sections of driveways and sidewalks. They’re using $2.3 million in American Rescue Plan funds to do this type of replacement on four streets: Seymour Street from E. Michigan Avenue to City Limits, Bates Street from Leroy Street to the street’s north end, Fourth Street from Griswold Street to W. Morrell Street, and W. Michigan Avenue from First Street to N. Brown Street.
So far this construction season, the crew has replaced lines at 70 homes, mostly focusing on properties along Seymour and Bates streets. The replacements will continue through late fall. The overall number of lines replaced this year will depend on homeowner cooperation, weather and equipment. The DPW says it’s important for residents to work with crews when contacted to make sure the lead line can be removed as soon as possible. The replacements do not bring any extra cost because they are funded through water/sewer rates and federal funds.
“Our replacement team is really picking up steam, sometimes replacing lines at three homes a day,” said Public Works Director Mike Osborn. “We appreciate the cooperation of residents. The sooner we can replace your line, the easier this process will be for yourself and your neighbors.”
Jackson resident Stephen Burns recently received a new service line at his house on Bates Street. “I was impressed with how quickly the line was replaced and how easy the crew was to work with,” Burns said. “I was worried my entire driveway would be torn up, but they did it with only taking up a section of the sidewalk, so I was happy to see that.”
More information about Jackson’s replacement efforts can be found in the lead service line replacement section of the cityofjackson.org.