Frequently Asked Questions
This new legislation allocates District funds to support two lead water service line replacement programs:
1) Full Lead Water Service Line Replacement Program - District funds cover the cost of the lead water service pipe replacement on private property, when DC Water replaces the portion of the pipe in public space; and
2) Lead Water Service Line Replacement Assistance Program – District provides funds to customers (directly to their contractors) to replace the lead service pipe on private property when the service pipe in public space is not lead. Both programs help ensure that the entire lead service pipe is replaced in full.
Additionally, the legislation requires landlords to disclose to tenants whether a given property contains any known lead water pipes. It requires the same of homeowners with respect to potential home buyers before any sales occur.
The earliest start date is October 1, 2019. The legislation was approved by the Council for the District of Columbia on December 4, 2018 and will be sent to the Mayor Browser for her signature. It will then be sent to Congress for a 30-day congressional review period. Once that period expires, the District will need to include funding in its approved budget and financial plan. Funds are anticipated to be included in the District’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget that begins October 1, 2019.
DC Water replaces lead service pipes in public space in conjunction with its planned capital improvement projects (i.e. water main replacements) or during emergency repairs when the lead service pipe or water main is damaged or leaking. In both cases, DC Water covers the cost of replacement for the portion in public space. The legislation, when funded, will cover the costs to replace the portion of the lead service pipe on private property, if the property owner* permits DC Water to perform that work on their property.
*Agreements for lead service pipe replacement must be made with the property owner.
If District funds are not available or DC Water does not have a planned capital improvement project to replace the lead service pipe in public space during a planned water main replacements within 2 years or an emergency replacement of the service line or water main, customers may still participate in DC Water’s Voluntary Lead Service Pipe Replacement program. The property owner must agree to pay for the costs to replace the lead service pipe in private property and DC Water will coordinate the replacement of the lead service pipe in public space.
The District estimated that $1 million would be required each year for Full Lead Water Service Line Replacement Program. Exact funding will not be known until after the budget for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2019 is approved by the DC Council.
No. If DC Water is replacing a lead service pipe in public space, all customers are eligible to receive funds regardless of household income provided there are sufficient funds from the city available. DC Water will require the property owner to sign an agreement permitting DC Water to perform the work on their property.
Yes. The property owner must apply for the assistance and eligibility to receive assistance is based on the property owner’s household income relative to the area median income (AMI) or their tenant’s participation in a District or federal housing program:
- 100% of the private side replacement costs will be covered for residential property owners with household incomes 80% or less of the AMI, and for property owners whose tenants participate in District or federal housing programs.
- 80% of the first $2,000 of private side replacement costs, and 100% of costs greater than $2,000 will be covered for residential property owners with household incomes between 80%-100% of the AMI.
- 50% of private side replacement costs will be covered for residential property owners with household incomes over 100% of the AMI; District financial assistance will not exceed $2,500
The area median income or AMI, is the area median income for a household of like size in the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area determined on an annual basis by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). As of July 1, 2018, the AMI for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area is 93,750 for a family of four.
The District estimated that $4.235 million would be required each year for the Lead Water Service Line Replacement Assistance Program. Exact funding will not be known until after the budget for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2019 is approved by the DC Council.
The legislation directs the Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) to develop the application and post it in on their website. Information about the program will also be posted on DC Water website. Once the application has been developed, the property owner can complete and submit it to DOEE. DOEE has 30-days to review and notify the applicant that the application was disapproved or approved and the amount of the assistance. Once approved the proved, the property owner must obtain a contractor to complete the work. Once the work has been completed, the invoice must be sent to DC Water. DC Water will certify the completion of the work and pay the contractor within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.
Additional details will be finalized in the coming year. DC Water will share this information when it becomes available—sign up for updates at dcwater.com/dc-water-email-signups.
Unfortunately, no. The legislation did not include a provision to reimburse for work performed before enactment. Please contact District Council member if you would like to advocate for a reimbursement component to be added to the legislation.
Unfortunately, no. The legislation did not include a provision to reimburse for work performed before enactment. If you determine that your household income qualifies you to participate in the District’s Lead Water Service Line Replacement Payment Assistance Program, you could decline to have your private service line replaced during the project and apply for assistance when funding is available. While we anticipate that the District will budget funds to support this legislation beginning October 1, 2018, we cannot guarantee that that funding will be available.
DC Water understands that affordability is a significant determining factor in your decision to replace your lead service pipe on private property. We recommend replacing any source of lead (i.e. a lead service pipe) as soon as it is possible/feasible for you to so to best protect yourself and your family from lead exposure. Replacing the private lead service line in conjunction with DC Water’s project is currently the best cost effective way to complete a full replacement.
If you are signed up for DC Water’s Voluntary Lead Service Line Replacement Program, that means there is no scheduled water main replacement on your block in the next two years. You could choose to wait for a water main replacement project, however, there is no way to guarantee that a water main project will be scheduled for your neighborhood in the foreseeable future. We recommend replacing your lead service pipe as soon as possible/feasible for you to do so to best protect yourself and your family from lead exposure.
DC Water uses structural assessment, water main break data, and other operational data to put together the 10-Year Capital Improvement Program framework which includes water main replacement plans. However, this plan is always subject to change due to a range of fluctuating factors including water main performance, risk criteria, and funding availability, and we cannot guarantee your water main will be replaced in the near future. Therefore, we recommend you replace your lead service pipe as soon as it is feasible for you to do so to best protect yourself and your family from lead exposure.
The District Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) is responsible for developing and implementing this program. When funding becomes available, you may apply to DOEE for financial assistance based on your income in relation to the area median income. Details and the process to enroll in this program will be finalized in the coming year.
DC Water will work with DOEE and will share this information when it becomes available—sign up for updates at dcwater.com/dc-water-email-signups.
DC Water and the District government will post eligibility guidelines and application information online next year.