Detroit’s lead service line replacement program to use cost-efficient location technology to save estimated $165M
- BlueConduit’s predictive modeling will allow Detroit to only excavate 384 water service lines instead of 300,000 to comply with Lead & Copper Rule reporting requirements
- Entire project funded by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy
- Startup BlueConduit successfully used its lead service line predictive modeling in Flint
DETROIT – The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) will save an estimated $165 million by using BlueConduit’s predictive modeling to determine lead service line inventory in the city of Detroit and meet state regulations. The effort, funded by grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes & Energy (EGLE), will allow the City of Detroit to meet the January 2025 deadline of providing a Complete Distribution Systems Material Inventory to EGLE as required for all Michigan cities and townships with lead service lines, and inform planning for Detroit’s projected $450 million lead service line replacement program.
BlueConduit partnership reduces the regulatory impact on water rates
DWSD will save an estimated $165 million by utilizing BlueConduit’s predictive modeling to submit the required distribution inventory to EGLE. DWSD will only have to excavate 384 stop boxes, instead of more than 300,000. The stop box is the turn-on/off valve outside that attaches to the service line which brings treated drinking water from Detroit’s water system to the home or business.
The service line material data from the 384 stop boxes, along with parcel (property) and permit (including age of house) data, will be input into the BlueConduit software to provide a report of the probable locations and amount of lead service lines in the city of Detroit. The $165 million estimated expense to excavate all 300,000 water service lines to verify pipe material would otherwise be passed along to Detroit water customers through a likely rate increase.
“Every decision we make at DWSD keeps affordability in mind,” said DWSD Deputy Director & Chief Engineer Palencia Mobley, P.E. “This partnership with BlueConduit and the funding from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Kresge Foundation and EGLE allow us to have mapping of probable lead service line locations for planning and regulatory reporting, without digging up every service line in the city of Detroit which would have likely increased water rates to pay for the work.”
Based on previous estimates, DWSD projected Detroit …….