TOLEDO, OH — Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Toledo to push for Congress to pass the American Jobs Plan and make much-needed investments to improve Ohio’s clean drinking water infrastructure. Water and sewer systems are critical infrastructure for Ohio communities, and upgrades will put Ohioans to work, spur economic development, and improve public health. Investing in these critical projects will also result in a cleaner Lake Erie, the source of Toledo’s drinking water. 

“The American Jobs Plan recognizes that infrastructure is more than just roads and bridges – it means delivering clean drinking water to Ohioans, eliminating lead pipes and service lines in our water systems, and improving public health,” said Brown. “We can put Ohioans to work making these critical repairs in good-paying jobs that cannot be shipped overseas. We can bring down Ohioans’ utility bills. And we can give parents peace of mind that their kids’ drinking water isn’t contaminated with lead.” 

Water and sewer infrastructure projects can be expensive for local communities; Toledo estimates it will cost $60 million alone to replace all of its city-owned lead water lines – and that doesn’t include privately-owned pipes. The city estimates as many as 3,000 of those private water lines have lead in them. In cities like Toledo, when water systems go without updates and repairs, water contamination, like we have seen in Lake Erie, can be damaging to communities and the environment. 

Brown believes we must put Ohioans to work making these critical repairs and improving public health. The American Jobs Plan would provide critical investments to:

  • Create good-paying jobs delivering safe, clean drinking water to Ohioans,
  • Eliminate lead pipes and service lines in communities’ drinking water systems,
  • Clean up Ohio waterways and sewer systems, and
  • Improve the overall health of Ohio’s children and communities. 

This plan would also help improve our nation’s infrastructure by providing historic investments in road and bridge repairs, affordable housing, school facilities, manufacturing and skills training, and more. 

On top of that, the American Families Plan, which Brown supports, would build on these important infrastructure investments by devoting significant funding and resources to education, health care, and child care programs. Brown believes all of these important investments are key to cutting costs and taxes for working families, while leaving the U.S. more competitive and expanding our middle class.

Brown was joined by Alexicia Sims, Junction Coalition Board Member, resident, and business owner; Alexis Smith, Community Database and Tech Coordinator for Freshwater Future and Junction neighborhood resident; and Wade Kapszukiewicz, Mayor of the City of Toledo.

“It is imperative that residents are included in the decision making process. It is their voices and lived experiences that will ensure that all Toledoans have access to clean, safe, and affordable drinking water. The residents who have been at the forefront of these issues have demanded that they not just be seen as customers, but partners in this work. I, as a Toledo resident and Freshwater Future staff member, am so grateful that the city of Toledo and our government officials like Sherrod Brown and Marcy Kaptur have come to the table to work for and with the community in developing water equity and democracy,” said Alexis Smith, Community Database and Tech Coordinator for Freshwater Future and Junction neighborhood resident.

“As a Childcare Center Owner,Toledo Water Council Member, and Board Member of  the Junction Coalition quality of the water that me and my families are using is extremely important. It is vital that the funding comes thru so that the burden of lead pipe replacement isn't placed on the shoulders of homeowners. Im pretty sure that an $2000 drop on to anyone's budget will put their household into financial stress. The thought of the citizen having to pay this cost doesn't align with those of us who are working on water affordability. The current plan that is in place to replace the lead lines will take 30 years. 30 years of children who's cognitive development will be effective by lead water lines failing to be replaced sooner,” said Alexicia Sims, Junction Coalition Board Member, resident, and business owner.