The $2,041,700 grant will replace 184 existing lead service lines with copper water service lines.By Meghan Schiller

ALIQUIPPA, Pa. (KDKA) — Big money in the form of million-dollar grants will soon hit local neighborhoods, with the goal of getting the lead out of drinking water.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller learned the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa just secured a $2 million grant to replace lead service lines, helping hundreds of homeowners.

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Jane Flara just opened her independent water test results.

“Your lead test results indicate that the lead was detected at a low level,” Flara read from her results.

Her water testing results came back clean for lead, but she says habits are habits and she’s still drinking bottled water.

“We’ve done it all our lives. I have the whole water system (replaced) but still, we’re so used to drinking the bottled water because we weren’t sure,” said the Aliquippa resident.

KDKA stopped by her house to tell her about the $2 million grant Aliquippa just secured. It will soon replace hundreds of lead service lines.

“This is the result of the last six years of hard work we’ve been putting in here,” said Matthew Mottes, chairman of the Municipal Water Authority of Aliquippa.

Chairman Mottes tells KDKA the $2,041,700 grant will replace 184 existing lead service lines with copper water service lines, and they’re even running the copper to the house.

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“Generally, from the curb box to the house, the customer owns. So we’re going to take the extra step the initiative here,” said Mottes. “We applied for more money and got all of the money so we can help our residents.”

The money comes from PENNVEST.

Brent Sailhamer describes it as a “quasi-governmental agency” that finances clean water projects across the commonwealth.

“We transferred $90 million from the clean water fund to the drinking water fund and it could only be used in grant form for lead line replacement,” said Sailhamer, PENNVEST.

It’s part of a $117 million investment for 25 drinking water, wastewater, and non-point source projects across 19 counties through Pennsylvania.

Aliquippa is the only project awarded in Beaver County, but West View Water Authority secured more than $6 million in Allegheny County, along with Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority — which secured a nearly $3 million grant and a loan in excess of $35,000.

KDKA’s Meghan Schiller asked Mottes: “What would have happened without this money?”

“We probably would have had to take out a bond issue and interest rates are low right now so we probably would have borrowed more money and it would have reflected to our ratepayers,” Mottes said.

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That’s why Mottes said grants are ideal because the water authority doesn’t need to pay them back, saving customers money and removing lead in the process.

Meghan Schiller