American Rescue Plan Funding: A Playbook for Efficiently Getting the Lead Out

Authors: Ian Robinson & Brig. Gen. (ret.) Michael McDaniel


Lead is a neurotoxin that continues to harm communities across the country. Though new uses of lead in paint, gasoline, and pipes have been banned for several decades, lead in legacy products and materials remains in communities, posing an ongoing threat to human and economic development. Anywhere from 6 to 10 million residential lead service lines (LSLs), for instance, are still in use nationwide.

Funding included in American Rescue Plan (ARP) grant programs gives cities and states the opportunity to finally eradicate lead contamination in water lines. These steps outlined in this memo (and summarized in the figure below) represent a data-driven approach to rid American communities of the pernicious effects of lead contamination in water systems. This approach builds on research from the University of Michigan and subsequent implementation by BlueConduit in more than 50 cities in the United States and Canada.

Download PDF

About the Authors

Ian Robinson has been the Managing Director of BlueConduit since 2019. He co-authored a white paper with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators on principles for using statistical modeling in service line inventory and replacement. Ian oversees BlueConduit’s efforts in supporting communities in their service line replacement programs. He graduated from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and School of Natural Resources and Environment with an MBA/MS, and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ecuador from 2009–2012.

Photo of a person smiling

Brig. Gen. (ret.) Michael McDaniel, J.D., MSS, M.A.S.S. is the Director of Government & Customer Relations at BlueConduit. In 2016, Gen. McDaniel was appointed by the Mayor of Flint and the Governor of Michigan to oversee the city’s service line replacement program. In 2016–2017, his teams used the output of a statistical machine-learning model to overcome uncertainty around service line materials. During his two years in Flint, Gen. McDaniel’s teams replaced more than 6,200 lead service lines. Gen. McDaniel is currently Director of Homeland Security (HS) Law programs at WMU-Cooley Law School. He has focused on critical infrastructure protection and remediation both as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Defense Strategy, Prevention and Mission Assurance at the Pentagon and as Michigan’s first Homeland Security Adviser. Gen. McDaniel is widely recognized as a strong advocate of clean water for all.