Commissioners approve plumbing grant for residents who could have lead in their water supply

Published 12:06 am Thursday, April 6, 2023

SALISBURY — Rowan County residents living in the northeastern part of the county, near the unincorporated area of Dukeville, could be eligible for a grant that will cover the cost of making repairs in their plumbing system to address material that may be causing lead to leach in their drinking water.

At the Monday meeting, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to establish the 2023 Plumbing Grant for Lead Remediation for Qualified Customers of Northeast Rowan County System Program.

The program is for those who receive their water from the North East Rowan County Water System, which began distributing public water to customers in 2018. The system serves a population of approximately 200 people and obtains water from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities.

There is no source of lead in the public water supply, but lead may be leaching into drinking water from old or outdated private plumbing systems on some customers’ properties, according to outside engineering consultants the county hired.

“The lead is actually coming from lead solder joints of the inside plumbing of the home,” said Randy Cress, the assistant county manager and chief information officer.

Residents who live in the northeastern part of the county and want to check their water for lead, they can call the county manager’s office and request a lead testing kit. If the results come back and lead is detected, residents can send those results to the county and will then be eligible for the plumbing grant program.

The county will also be sending out notices to all customers who may be affected.

“I’ve requested from Salisbury-Rowan Utilities the Northeast Water System customer list so we can do that mailing,” Cress said.

Cress explained how the grant applications and distribution will work:

If a customer tests and finds lead in their drinking water, they should contact at least two plumbing contractors to come see what repairs are necessary and get a quote for how much repairs will cost. The customer is then 100 percent eligible for the plumbing grant program and the county will reimburse residents for the cost of the repairs.

County officials are currently setting up a site for people to apply for the county grant. It is expected to be online by next week.