New York State In-depth

Syracuse working to replace over 14,000 lead pipes

SYRACUSE, NY (WSYR-TV) — William Dee is the President of Sinclair & Andrews Insurance located at 306 Hawley Avenue in Syracuse. The building is historic and built in 1870, so it had lead pipes. Dee replaced the lead pipes earlier this year.

“It started to leak out here,” Dee explained. “A little geiser started so I knew we needed to replace it so there wouldn’t be damage to the neighborhood or building.”

Just outside his property, the City of Syracuse is replacing its lead pipes that connect to his.

“This is work that is ongoing,” said Mayor Ben Walsh. “We try as much as possible to coordinate it with existing infrastructure projects.”

With more than 14,000 pipes in the City of Syracuse, this is an expensive undertaking. To replace one line costs between $12,000 and $14,000.

“To do all of it, we’re talking well over 100 million dollars,” Walsh explained.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was in town to talk about the $2.6 billion in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve water infrastructure across the state. Municipalities may apply for this funding.

“Because of the implications it has on our kids and communities of color, it’s just urgent,” Senator Gillibrand said. “So I’m excited that all the mayors I talked to are really trying to lean forward. But I would apply for all your money.”

With one in 10 children in Syracuse having elevated blood lead levels, Mayor Walsh said the city will apply for this funding while they continue to address the problem one pipe at a time.

The water department has a number of replacement projects in progress. They’ve already replaced 50 service lines on Butternut Street.

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