Bustos pushes for lead line replacement grant

Originally appeared in the Galesburg Register-Mail.

WASHINGTON — Congresswoman Cheri Bustos and Congressman Bobby Rush have introduced a bill to allow more grant dollars to replace lead service lines in schools.

Bustos, D-East Moline, introduced the Safe Drinking Water Act along with Rush, D-Chicago, to establish grant money within the Environmental Protection Agency. That occurred on Thursday.

The bill “would establish a $50 million grant program within the EPA that would allow local education agencies and districts to replace lead service lines and lead solder used in school plumbing,” said a news release from Bustos.

The bill is also a companion to an earlier bill Rush introduced, which would provide grants to schools to replace older water tanks manufactured prior to 1988.

“This is a problem that predates all of our tenures, but we understand how widespread this issue is and what resources are going to be needed to address it form the local, state, and federal levels to turn this issue around,” Rush said in a news release.

Bustos said in the news release that she worked hard to secure funds to replace lead pipes in Galesburg, “however, the problem of lead contamination in drinking water is widespread and must be addressed comprehensively.”

This bill comes after Rush and Bustos hosted “a fact-finding, informational water infrastructure listening session at Avalon Park field house in Chicago” last month, the release said.