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Rhode Island water utility Providence Water has launched a new pilot program that is offering three-year zero percent interest loans for homeowners to replace their private lead service lines. The zero percent interest pilot program, approved by the Public Utilities Commission, is a proactive initiative as part of Providence Water’s multipronged proactive approach to minimize customers’ exposure to lead. Providence Water will ensure that the public side of the lead service line is automatically replaced at no cost whenever a homeowner replaces his/her private side of the lead service line.
“Replacing the lead service line can cost a property owner, on average, $2,500 and $3,000,” said Providence Water General Manager Ricky Caruolo. “This pilot program is a great initiative to help offset the financial burden of replacing lead service lines. We continue our ongoing aggressive programs to mitigate exposure to lead, and I personally want to thank the PUC for its input and approval of this pilot program.”
“Providence Water did a tremendous job revising its initial idea and creating this pilot program, which the PUC approved of unanimously. Providence Water deserves significant credit for its efforts,” said Margaret Curran, PUC Chairperson. “This may be the first time such a water program for public health benefits has been included in rates. I am hopeful the annual program reports will show that people are taking advantage of this new opportunity.”
The loans for replacement of private side lead service lines will be available on a first come-first serve basis. Providence Water customers in Providence, Cranston, North Providence and East Smithfield can pick up a free lead test kit from the company's location on Dupont Drive in Providence. Customers with questions can call (401) 521-6303.