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Bill to force apartment landlords to replace lead pipes, set up school fund advances

Rusty lead pipes that have been removed laid out on the grass.
Pixabay
SB 5 would require landlords to enroll in a program to replace the lead pipes they own through their water utility or be forced to pay for it themselves. It would also set up a fund to help schools test for lead and replace lead fixtures.

Absentee landlords would have to replace lead drinking water pipes in apartments under a bill that passed the Indiana House on Tuesday.

Kids exposed to lead can have trouble learning, behavioral issues and poor kidney function. It can also cause high blood pressure, kidney failure, and anemia in adults and seniors.

The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed a deadline of 10 years for water utilities to replace all their lead pipes.

SB 5 would require landlords to enroll in a program to replace the lead pipes they own through their water utility or be forced to pay for it themselves. But consumer advocates with the Citizens Action Coalition expressed concern that landlords who don’t replace their lead pipes won’t face consequences under the current bill.

READ MORE: Absentee landlords could slow down lead pipe replacements, state Senate bill aims to help

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The federal government and the Indiana Finance Authority have made funding available to Indiana drinking water utilities to help offset the cost of replacing lead pipes to their customers.

The bill would also set up a fund to help schools test for lead and replace lead fixtures. It now goes back to the Senate with amendments.

Rebecca is our energy and environment reporter. Contact her at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

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Rebecca Thiele covers statewide environment and energy issues.