The Biden administration announced its plan to replace every lead pipe in the country in an effort to make drinking water safer as part of the president’s infrastructure plan. Vice President Kamala Harris is expected to announce the details in a speech on Thursday.

There are roughly 6 million to 10 million lead pipes across the country and replacing all of them will cost $60 billion, according to the American Waterworks Association. As many as 10 million households, offices and schools are getting their drinking water through lead pipes.

President Joe Biden received $15 billion from Congress to replace the nation’s lead pipes after initially asking for $45 billion. The administration also plans to use another $15 billion from the Build Back Better bill, which has stalled in the Senate after passing the House.

 

 

 

 

“These game-changing investments will put American plumbers and pipefitters to work replacing all of America’s lead pipes and service lines and making other critical upgrades,” the White House said in a statement.

The plan comes as communities like Flint, Michigan, have been struggling with a tainted water supply for the past six years. The problem has caused long-term chronic health problems due to the lead and bacteria in the water.

People have been forced to line up and receive bottled water to drink, cook and clean with. The administration does not have a timeframe to replace the lead pipes.

Erik D. Olson, the senior strategic director for health at the Natural Resources Defense Council, told The New York Times that the effort to replace all of the lead pipes is a “once in a generation opportunity” and that many communities have been living with lead contamination for over 100 years.