Snyder Proposes Draft Plan to Remove All Lead Service Lines in Michigan

Governor Snyder is proposing to replace all underground lead services pipes in Michigan within 20 years.

manhole cover that reads "Detroit Water and Sewer Department"

Photo credit: Quinn Klinefelter/WDET.

Quinn Klinefelter/WDET

Governor Snyder’s Administration is drafting a proposal that would require municipalities to remove all lead service lines by 2020.

State officials estimate there are more than 500,000  lead water pipes still in place.

Eric Oswald is the director of the Drinking Water and Municipal Assistance division for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. He believes it will take Detroit longer than 20 years to replace all of its lines.

“There is a provision in the rules that we can sit down with individual water systems, for instance like Detroit, that have so many, and negotiate a time period for them to remove the lead service lines,” Oswald says. 

Oswald says Detroit could have up to 125,000 lead service lines.

Under the draft rules, utilities would fully replace all lead pipes at their expenses, though the cost would be passed along to water customers. 


  • Bre'Anna Tinsley
    Bre'Anna Tinsley is a reporter for Detroit Public Radio, 101.9 WDET. She covers city government and housing, as well as co-hosting the "Detroit Evening Report" podcast.