The Rockefeller Foundation recently published “Tackling Clean Water Advocacy, a Different Way: The Rise of BlueConduit“. The article highlights Toledo, Ohio, and Buffalo, New York. Both cities are replacing lead service lines in their drinking water system, and they’re using BlueConduit’s predictions and maps to do it efficiently. Yet the value of tech goes beyond replacement program efficiency. These cities rely on lead service line maps for clear communications with their residents about lead.
Progress in Toledo, Ohio
Riley says that even given BlueConduit’s money-saving tool, its maps were really the asset that enabled essential public buy-in and forward progress.
“We show them how to use the maps at home,” says Riley. “And the maps are outstanding. If you live on, for example, 1010 Main Street, you can pull up your address and the map will zoom right in and tell you the probability that there’s lead in your home.”
With the community’s support, Riley says they were able to identify lead service lines at a pace that they might not have been able to reach on their ownMark Riley, Toledo Department of Public Utilities Administrator, quoted in “Tackling Clean Water Advocacy, A Different Way: The Rise of BlueConduit
Toledo has made their map available on their Lead Line Replacements website.
Progress in Buffalo, New York
Simeon says that BlueConduit will help them take something “very rudimentary” like an Excel spreadsheet, to a “live action” map that the community can engage with. Those real-time maps will work in conjunction with the extensive efforts Buffalo has also organized to make sure the average resident can understand — and agree to — offer essential info and agree to excavations.Stephanie Simeon, Executive Director, Heart of the City Neighborhoods, quoted in “Tackling Clean Water Advocacy, A Different Way: The Rise of BlueConduit
At this writing (April 2023), the maps are not yet public for Buffalo, and work is underway with Buffalo Water for this important communications tool.
Why We Map Lead Service Lines
“We’re really developing the public-facing maps because we think transparency is important and actually going to generate the best long-term health outcomes for everyone, especially the folks who are most disadvantaged,” says Schwartz.Eric Schwartz, BlueConduit co-Founder