Malden was one of 10 cities nationwide recognized with a Project Award by the Center for Digital Government (CDG) at last week’s virtual GovX conference. Now in its sixth year, the conference highlights the achievements and best practices of states, cities and counties that are radically improving the experience of government services.
This year Malden was recognized for its initiative “Prioritizing Lead Service Line Replacement by Childhood Exposure.” By applying mathematical optimization techniques to city engineering records and school enrollment data, Malden has demonstrated how lead remediation efforts can be targeted towards the riskiest water pipes affecting the greatest number of young children across the city.
Earlier this year Mayor Gary Christenson and Ward 6 Councillor Stephen Winslow announced a major new initiative to speed up the removal of lead pipe service lines, particularly those in areas that serve the most children. Mayor Christenson recently approved a request for $2.75 million in ARPA funds to expedite lead service line replacements, more than triple the $655,000 funds dedicated this year.
Though the GovX award centers on this recent use of ARPA funds to maximize public health benefits, research has been underway since 2019 when Councillor Winslow and Conservation Commission Acting Chair Isaac Slavitt developed the original concept of identifying hot spots for lead risk among young children. A peer-reviewed research paper laying out the technical methodology with Malden’s pilot as the central case study will be published this fall, opening the door to the approach being replicated in other cities with similar challenges.
“I congratulate Chairman Slavitt and Councillor Winslow on this significant award and thank them for their vigorous work to identify the lead lines that serve the most children,” said Mayor Christenson.