Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg

Wausau mayor speaks at White House on lead pipe panel

Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg
Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg speaks at the White House Friday, discussing lead pipe removal.

Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg spoke at the White House Friday as part of a panel to address lead pipe removal. 

The Biden Administration invited Wausau to be one of the inaugural communities in a partnership that aims to remove 100% of lead pipes from communities. 

As part of that partnership, Rosenberg was invited to participate in a panel called Lead First Communities held at the White House.

The new program, called “Get the Lead Out,” would deploy federal funding through the states to help municipalities fund lead pipe replacement. The program includes a partnership with four states, including Wisconsin, to target those service line replacements. 

High levels of lead in drinking water can cause severe damage to kidneys and the brain.

Wausau mayor at the White House

Rosenberg was invited up to the panel with other mayors of smaller cities about one hour into the conference. 

The Wausau mayor told the panel that the city used ARPA funding to hire a consultant to start examining the scope of the lead problem in Wausau. Rosenberg estimated the city needs to remove about 8,000 lead pipes throughout the city. Each pipe replacement costs about $10,000, Rosenberg says

Rosenberg also told the panel that communication during the process is key, especially with the Hmong elders of Wausau.

See the Rosenberg’s appearance at the White House: (timestamped, starts at roughly 1 hour mark).