It’s estimated 9 million lead pipes carry drinking water to millions of people in the U.S.
(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) July 10, 2023 — Water utilities nationwide are working to find and replace their lead service lines (LSLs) without knowing how many are in their system. To help utilities plan, water analytics pioneer BlueConduit launched a free LSL count and replacement cost estimator.
The recently released tool, part of BlueConduit Starter, combines machine learning with public records to estimate the number of unknown lead service lines at the water system level. It also provides an initial cost estimate so cities can plan ahead, meet the EPA’s Lead and Copper Rule Revision requirements, and apply for funding.
“Water utilities tell us they lack insight into their total lead service line count and the estimated cost to remove those lines,” says Lorne Groe, CEO at BlueConduit. “As part of our mission to empower communities to prioritize health and sustainability through data science, we’ve created this tool to help utilities prepare their funding requests and plan for their address-by-address service line inventory and LSL replacement.”
In December 2021, the EPA released its Lead and Copper Rule Revision, which requires all U.S. water systems to develop address-level lead service line inventories by October 16, 2024. In January of 2023, the White House set a goal of replacing the nation’s lead pipes in the next decade. BlueConduit originated the approach of using machine learning to predict lead service line locations.
“When utilities have the information they need to plan to replace lead service lines efficiently, everyone wins: the city, the ratepayers, and, most of all, the residents,” says Groe. “BlueConduit Starter is part of the critical solution for reducing lead exposure, a significant public health issue across the United States.”
Google.org and The Rockefeller Foundation provided support so that BlueConduit Starter can be provided free of charge to utilities. The new water system-level tool is available to utilities and utility staff, and is a separate offering from BlueConduit’s subscription platform, which creates address-level predictions.
BlueConduit, the pioneer in using data science to find lead pipes, has applied machine learning models across over 200 communities and water systems in over 20 U.S. states and in Canada. The BlueConduit smart service line inventory and replacement platform provides address-by-address predictions that enable utilities to locate lead in greater than 80% of attempted replacements, accelerate the removal of lead and lower the cost per successful replacement. The EPA included BlueConduit’s work and predictive modeling in its Service Line Inventory Guidance. Subscription access to the BlueConduit platform is supported for disadvantaged communities in part through grants from Google.org and The Rockefeller Foundation.