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Vice President Kamala Harris talks about infrastructure and water lines during his visit to Pittsburgh – WPXI

PITTSBURGH — Vice President Kamala Harris traveled to Pittsburgh to speak about infrastructure and the importance of removing and replacing lead water pipes.

She says investing in upgrades is crucial for public safety.

Pittsburgh has been replacing lead pipes for years, but not without controversy.

“We all believe that everyone has the right to be able to drink clean water,” Harris said.

Harris visited the Community Empowerment Association in Homewood to highlight the lead crisis plaguing neighborhoods across the United States. More than 24 million homes still have lead paint and 10 million lead pipes.

The vice president applauded Steel City’s efforts in removing the lead lines and said the actions of local leaders have caught the attention of the highest levels of government.

She says Pittsburgh has been a success in making positive changes for the good of all residents.

“The work we do together will have a profound impact when we are coordinated. I want to thank everyone here for the work you’ve been doing for years.

The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority began replacing lead pipes at no cost to customers in 2016 after Department of Environmental Protection test results showed lead levels exceeded limits.

Then, in 2017, the DEP fined the PWSA more than $2 million for high lead levels and instructed it to use $1.8 million of the fine to replace service lines. partial lead in the city.

The DEP referred the case to the state attorney general’s office.

Then, in 2019, the attorney general’s office filed criminal charges against the PWSA for multiple violations of the Pennsylvania Safe Water Drinking Act.

The PWSA says its goal is to remove all lead lines within the next four years.

Harris was joined today by EPA Secretary Michael Regan and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge, who announced a $520 million Hazards in Homes grant to help help underserved communities.

“Too many children die each year from the devastating effects of lead,” Fudge said.

Harris said replacing lead lines is a top priority for the sake of everyone’s health and well-being.

Currently, $50 billion in federal infrastructure funds are being used to make a difference, including $15 billion for the elimination of lead pipes.

“The government has a responsibility to step in and help put the resources in place so we can phase out lead,” Harris said.

Harris says she and President Joe Biden are now aiming to have all lead pipes removed in the United States within the next 10 years.