Did You Know…


The City of Milwaukee comprises nearly 600,000 individuals. Of all those citizens, around 70,000 households have lead pipes running throughout their plumbing, which all are in dire need of replacement or improvement for the health and well-being of all Milwaukee County citizens.

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City of Milwaukee Citizens

Households with Lead in Pipes

For Decades the general population has been warned about the dangers of lead pipes. Even though many older Milwaukee homes have been partially or completely renovated, the plumbing is rarely changed as a complete overhaul of plumbing is a costly expense that lower income families cannot account for.

The result? Long-term lead poisoning; trauma that causes serious physical and developmental risks, especially to children. Children under the age of six are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning which can cause permanent neurological damage leading to learning disabilities and behavior problems.

The Effects of Lead Poisoning

The term ‘poisoning’ has such an urgent ring to it; however, in this case, it is not as simple as an upset stomach or skin rash. The effects of lead poisoning on both children and adults is both short and long-term, and is most detrimental to children as they grow.

When we take that number of Milwaukee County residents living in a home with lead plumbing, nearly half are children of the age of six or younger. This is a crucial age range in their development; these children start to develop their mental faculties along with their physical capabilities. Additionally, infants that are fed formula prepared with lead-contaminated water are consuming a much larger quantity of lead relative to their small stature.

Initially, lead poisoning is largely asymptomatic, but long-term developmental issues are imminent in children. Originally identified by the Center for Disease Control, these medical troubles include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Physically stunted growth
  • Kidney problems, both in youth and adulthood
  • High blood pressure in adulthood
  • Irreversible neurological damage
  • Attention span issues (Attention Deficit Disorder)
  • Behavioral problems
  • Permanent damage to the brain

In this case, the asymptomatic nature of lead poisoning is extremely detrimental, as many parents do not realize the danger their child is in. Lead accumulates in the body over time, which leads to these aforementioned problems.

We have the solution to help Milwaukee County residents

Because of the cost of installing a filtration system or even further, a whole new plumbing system in a home, lower income families are left without an option.

However, with a mission to bring whole-house filtration systems in older Milwaukee homes as a way to move towards a lead free county, Community Water Services (CWS) is ready to transform the health of Milwaukee County residents.

By testing a systematic approach to bring safe tap water for all to drink, CWS is seeking valued partners looking to invest in the health and well-being of our fellow citizens. The initial goal is to launch a feasibility project that will establish 150 beta testing sites for both water technology systems designed to filter lead from drinking water and account for potential retrofitting of plumbing.

Once these beta sites are set up, Community Water Services (CWS) plans to monitor them via testing for the first year, as a way to ensure no money is wasted and no stone is left unturned. Likewise, this year of review will reveal the scalability of the project and open the door to purifying all Milwaukee homes in an affordable way.

Together we can provide clean, safe drinking water for the vulnerable population of Milwaukee County and ensure that above all else, the children have the opportunity to stay healthy and grow into successful, happy young adults.

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Community Water Services (CWS) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

1836 W. Fond Du Lac Avenue
Milwaukee WI  53205
ph: 414-507-9400

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