Before the Common Council unanimously passed the special assessments required for sidewalk, curb and driveway apron work May 14, alders discussed the progress of replacing the lead pipes leading to some Stoughton homes.
Stoughton Utilities has a map of all the lead laterals in the area of this year’s streets projects, but assistant utilities director Brian Hoops told the Hub that map is SU’s “best guess” based on the age of the neighborhood.
The laterals connect a private property to the city’s mains, and the city has no record of the building materials used when the laterals were put in. Plus, the city cannot require a homeowner to replace pipes on their property.
Alder Regina Hirsch (Dist. 3) said homeowners would save money replacing the health-damaging pipes when the utility work would already be ripping up the road.
Mayor Tim Swadley told the council Gov. Tony Evers put money in his proposed budget for a statewide lead pipe replacement program, but the Joint Finance Committee had removed it.
Hoops told the Hub homeowners can tell if they have lead pipes leading to their home by doing a simple test of the pipe that connects to their water meter from outside the home.
“Take a screwdriver, put a scratch on the pipe before the water meter,” Hoops said. “If the scratched area is shiny and gray, it might be lead. If it is a copper color, like a penny, it’s copper. If it’s a dull gray, it’s galvanized steel.”
A major difference between steel and lead, other than shininess, is that a magnet will stick to steel but will not stick to either lead or copper.
For information, visit stoughtonutilities.com/lead or call SU at 873-3379.