No lead pipes found in Lawrence compliance project


The City of Lawrence Utilities Department is continuing its federally mandated lead pipe inventory project, and so far hasn’t found any lead pipes in the city’s water infrastructure.

Interim Utilities Superintendent Paul Wanner told the Utilities Service Board Feb. 27 that the inventory project must be completed by Oct. 16. He noted that funding for the project will be paid for through a $400,000 reimbursable grant awarded in late 2023.

Wanner said that out of the utility’s 15,000-plus service accounts, they’ve inventoried about 11,000 so far with no lead lines discovered. He doesn’t anticipate finding any in the remaining 4,000.

“In my 35 years, we’ve never encountered any lead lines in our system, but we have to verify that as part of this inventory,” he said.

To help complete the project in time, the board unanimously approved a motion to hire Wessler Engineering for work not to exceed $125,000.

Before the vote and in response to a question from the board, Wanner said the inspection process involves digging up the pipes and visually inspecting them to determine their material. He added that — since they’ve dug up the pipes anyway — when they encounter galvanized-steel pipes, they replace them with pipes made from more durable material.

Galvanized pipes were commonly used up to the 1980s but are prone to corrosion.