New York State is investing $20 million in clean water infrastructure.
Locally, it means some of those crucial dollars will be coming to a city or community near you.
The funds are part of New York’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 and will replace residential drinking water lines that are constructed of lead.
“These critical improvements to New York’s drinking water infrastructure are vital to protecting public health and to laying the foundation for future growth and economic prosperity in these communities,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “With this $20 million award, we are helping to protect residents and their families across this state and are creating a stronger, healthier New York.”
Drinking water can be a source of lead exposure when service pipes that contain lead corrode, especially when the water has high acidity or low mineral content. The use of lead in residential water service lines began decreasing in the 1930s because of the evolution of regulations and construction practices; however, significant amounts of lead can leach into water when older service lines, brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures with lead solder corrode.
The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that drinking water contaminated with lead can contribute to 20 percent or more of a person’s total lead exposure. Infants who consume mostly mixed formula can receive 40 to 60 percent of their exposure to lead from drinking water.
Syracuse and Rochester both won funding. Syracuse will see $698,134 – while Rochester will receive $538,096.
Some smaller communities in the Finger Lakes will receive funding, too.
Auburn, Geneva and Lyons will all receive more than $500,000 to update these water service lines.
Auburn will receive the same amount as Syracuse, which will mean nearly $700,000 for upgrades. While Geneva and Lyons will each receive $538,096.
Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Public health begins with access to clean drinking water, and reducing lead exposure, especially in children, should always be a top priority. This state-wide program to replace residential lead pipes in areas of the state that need it most will improve the health of New Yorkers.”
The Lead Service Line Replacement Program is the latest initiative in the State’s overall Childhood Lead Prevention efforts which began in 2007 with funding to local health departments to target at-risk neighborhoods, implement prevention activities, and promote lead testing and public awareness of the dangers of lead poisoning.