Milwaukee mayor: “We understand what the challenges are” as it relates to lead in city’s laterals

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MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and Health Commissioner Bevan Baker spoke at length on Thursday, September 8th about the safety of tap water in the city -- and how residents can ensure they are not being exposed to excessive levels of lead.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett addresses safety of city's tap water

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett addresses safety of city's tap water

Barrett said homes built in the city prior to 1950 contain lead. He said when construction is done in neighborhoods where those home exist, they have found in the past, increases in lead coming from the laterals.

The mayor reiterated information that was stated in a February 2016 mailing to 70,000 households with lead service lines -- steps to make sure their water is safe.

Those include the following four steps:

  1. Flush your plumbing by running the kitchen faucet on cold for three minutes before using tap water for drinking or cooking until the water stream is noticeably colder. Mayor Barrett said in the news conference that the cost of running the water for about three minutes amounts to about five cents.
  2. Use only cold water for drinking and cooking. Households with residents that include children under the age of six, and pregnant women and breastfeeding women should consider using bottled water or filtered  tap water for formula, juices, cooking and drinking.
  3. Occasionally remove the screen or aerator from a faucet to rinse it out.
  4. A home filtration system or water filtering pitchers certified to reduce lead can further reduce the possibility of lead entering your drinking water.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett

"The City of Milwaukee is very transparent on this. We understand what the challenges are. In my budget I'm going to have a plan that I'm going to start developing that will include a timetable to begin replacing lead laterals," Barrett said. "This is something that's going to take a significant amount of time because it's very expensive. But it is going to be the first step that we take through the budget process to help deal with this process."

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker

Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker

Health Commissioner Bevan Baker also suggested lead testing for children in the city of Milwaukee.

"We're asking that parents, grandparents, guardians, adoptive parents, really work with pediatricians and public health to get children tested for childhood lead poisoning," Baker said. "Birth to three. We want three before age three. And that would help us identify where there's lead hazards for a child."

Residents are encouraged to seek out information on this issue with the Milwaukee Health Department. CLICK HERE to read through frequently asked questions about lead testing. For further information, you can contact the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 414-286-5987.

IMPORTANT: If someone is interested in purchasing a filter for their home, city officials say they should look for one that is NSF certified under Standard 53. These are available in pitchers, faucet mounted filters, under sink versions, etc. and can be found both at big box stores and online. The key is to look for NSF Standard 53 –- which is certified to remove lead among other materials. CLICK HERE for even more information on lead awareness and drinking water safety.



    My water may be contaminated but maybe the city will offer me a free cup of water on my $5.00 trolley ride to nowhere.

    • Had ENOUGH!

      Since the lead is coming from the lateral connection to the house… I’m sure it can vary depending how long the water sits in the lateral.

      This isn’t news.. this should be common knowledge to anyone in an old house in the city. It’s been this way for years.

      This is just the city trying to cover their a**…


    lets do some math here. 3 minutes at 2.5 gallons per minute = 7.5 gallons of treated water wasted. Now 7.5 gallons times 70,000 homes = 525,000 gallons wasted. that is only if done once a day. Circus clown mayor says do it every 6 hrs. now we are up to 2,100,000 gallons daily. If so, we will likely fill the deep tunnel. then we will be pumping turds & rubbers into the harbor. What is the cost per 100 gallons of treating Lake Michigan water for potable consumption?

  • Marty

    Hey Tom, why not plead to the lead like you plead and groveled to the black terrorists in Sherman Park.
    You craven leftist coward

  • Beavis

    6 out of 70,000 homes is 8.6 thousandths of a percent of the homes in Milwaukee with lead pipes. Great math mayor, a really representative sample of the city as a whole.

  • walloffthenorthside

    Put some signs up, maybe we can riot due to lead in our water. #leadfreebeveragesmatter. Then again pretty much anything that comes out of Barrett mouth is pure $hit.


    Why give just some people filters? I actually pay my taxes. I deserve one over people that are on welfare that have never paid a dime.

  • Ted

    so, for almost 70 years, the socialist city leaders have known about the lead but failed to do anything, then they blame the state for a lack of funding….Hilarious….. and then to offer water filters, these people don’t even use the free pak n plays…. Then to have to change the filters every 3-6 months, come on. Milwaukee is known as Water City?

  • ideploreidotas

    ” Get rid of Tommy Boy” All in favor, please repeat after me, Mayor Tom Barrett should be recalled, goodbye snake like bastard!

  • Ted

    this is the property owners problem, period! The laterals are owner by the owner, who will pay for my lateral work (if I needed it), why are they blaming the state for not enough funds? Pay your own way Milwaukee!

  • Karryn

    What if the landlord’s don’t want to do anything? My landlord is a pure slum Lord junkie. What do renters do to get the stuff fixed?

Comments are closed.