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NY could begin work to track down lead pipes: Will Hochul sign the bill?

  • / Updated:
  • Edwin Viera 

New York environmental groups want Gov. Kathy Hochul to sign a bill making it easier to know where lead pipes are located.

DiSanto Propane (Billboard)

The Lead Pipe Right to Know Act would require information about the location of lead pipes be made accessible online for New Yorkers to easily access.

The Natural Resources Defense Council finds there are more than 360,000 lead pipes across the state.

Robert Hayes, director of clean water for Environmental Advocates New York, said the bill will do more than eliminate lead pipes.

“At the end of the day, it’s going to take money to dig up lead pipes – and we’ve seen really historic investments made at the federal level to replace lead pipes through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Now, we need the state government to step up with a similar type of commitment,” Hayes explained.

He noted advocates are also calling on Hochul to include an extra $100 million for lead service line replacement in the upcoming budget. Since 2017, $5 billion has been dedicated to clean water work, although less than 1% has gone to fixing lead pipes.

Estimates find it will cost at least $2.5 billion to replace all lead pipes in the state.

Along with state and federal investments, municipalities can take initiative on removing lead pipes too. Earlier this year, the city of Troy established its Get the Lead Out Plan to remove the city’s estimated 14,000 lead pipes.

He added that this plan could serve as a framework for other towns and cities looking to get the ball rolling on lead pipe removal.

“Since May of this year, Troy has replaced about 80 lead pipes and intends to continue that. That’s what local governments need to be doing all across the state,” Hayes said. “These pipes are in almost every city in New York, from Buffalo to Albany to New York City, and we can’t wait any longer to get the lead out of drinking water.”

A New York City Coalition to End Lead Poisoning report finds 41% of water service lines are made of lead or possibly made of lead pipes. This means 21% of the city’s residents live in a household with lead or possibly lead service lines.