Watertown still has money available to replace lead pipes

Updated: Oct. 30, 2019 at 3:40 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The city of Watertown is replacing water service lines made with lead. A couple of years ago, the city received money from the state to do it, but it still has a lot of money left.

The city Water Department crew is digging down to the water line going to a home on East Avenue.

It is replacing a lead piece of piping called a goose neck.

"As the water goes over that lead piece of pipe, it collects some of that lead and then people are drinking it, so obviously we want to remove that," said Vicky Murphy, the city's water superintendent.

Many older homes have lead water service lines. Health officials say they can lead to lead poisoning.

"Even small amounts of lead can cause problems for children - behavioral problems, developmental delays, and even physical health problems - so we really want to make sure that kids are protected against lead poisoning and one of those ways is to make sure that their drinking water doesn't contain it," said Faith Lustik, lead poisoning prevention coordinator at Jefferson County Public Health Service.

The replacement project is being paid for by the state. In 2017, the city was awarded $607,000 to replace lead service lines to homes. The town of Gouverneur was also awarded $607,000.

The city's already completed more than 60 of these replacement projects under the program, but it still has about $500,000 left. So it's hoping more homeowners will apply.

"It was only supposed to be a 2 year program, but the state has already told me that they're going to extend it one more year and that's good because we haven't spent the whole $607,000, not even close actually so that's why we need more people to apply," said Murphy.

Murphy says homes built before 1930 are eligible to apply. After that, copper lines were used instead of lead.

To apply, click here.

If you have questions, contact the water department at 315-785-7757, or email Vicky Murphy at vmurphy@watertown-ny.gov.

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