Denver Water is already in the middle of removing its lead pipes. The department is in charge of roughly 3,000 miles of pipe servicing 1.5 million people. Some of the pipes in the city date back to the 1800s. “Infrastructure does not simply mean roads and bridges. It means addressing the need to modernize and update or electric grid,” Neguse said. “It also means addressing the water infrastructure challenges that we have across the country in places like Flint, Michigan, and here in Colorado.” “The lead reduction program is Denver Water’s biggest public health initiative, and it focuses on removing between 64,000 and 84,000 lead service lines in our water system,” said Jose Salas, a spokesperson for the department.
Water infrastructure Another $580 billion would go toward manufacturing, development, research and job training.
The plan also calls for $300 billion in upgrades to the country’s storm, waste and drinking water systems and the complete removal of all lead pipes. The plan calls for $621 billion in transportation infrastructure investments for things like roads, bridges, airports, public transit and more.
Along with replacing lead pipes, Neguse said the plan would also focus on modernizing rural water systems. “Infrastructure investment, as far as modernizing our water and wastewater and stormwater systems, also would address rural needs and rural small water systems, which have in the past been neglected,” Neguse said. “We’re definitely excited to hear about the upcoming infrastructure plan, and it’s something that we are learning about and will continue to study,” Salas said.
Even with these efforts, Denver Water estimates it will take the city 15 years to replace all of the pipes at a cost of $500-600 million. Most of the lead pipes the city is trying to replace come from service lines from homes constructed in the 1950s that connect to Denver Water’s pipes. Each lead line takes between six and eight hours to replace. In 2020, the city replaced 5,200 lead service lines as part of its reduction program, creating 300 jobs.
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