Officials praise efforts to land infrastructure funding in Lyons, Auburn, and Geneva

Three communities in the Wayne-Finger Lakes region will receive a combined $1.8 million to replace residential drinking water service lines containing lead through New York State’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act.

The City of Auburn will receive $698,134, while the City of Geneva and the Town of Lyons each received $538,096.

“A clean, safe drinking water supply isn’t a luxury for our families and local communities – it’s essential. This important funding will not only allow these communities to upgrade and replace their aging infrastructure but will also ensure that our residents – especially our children – are drinking water that is free of dangerous lead particles,” said Senator Pam Helming. “Healthy families and communities are the foundation of economic growth opportunities throughout region, and one way we can protect their well-being is by making sure that they have a clean, safe source for drinking water. I was proud to help lead the fight for the inclusion of this money in the state budget and am pleased that it will directly benefit our local communities.”

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act was enacted as part of this year’s New York State budget and created the Lead Service Line Replacement Program. This program allows the Department of Health to appropriate grants to replace service lines containing lead.

Communities were deemed eligible for this funding based on the following criteria: percentage of children with elevated blood levels, median household income, and the number of homes built before 1939. Grants will be used to replace residential lead service lines from the municipal water main to the residence.

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 U.S. 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.

“The City of Auburn has an older housing stock and a significant amount of water infrastructure that was originally installed several decades ago. This Clean Water Infrastructure Act grant from the state will help us to replace outdated water lines so that we can provide a clean and safe drinking water supply throughout our city. We thank Senator Helming for her leadership and support in making sure that New York State makes safe public drinking water a top priority,” Auburn Mayor Michael Quill said.

“This funding is critical for our ability to provide clean, safe drinking water for local families and businesses. The City of Geneva is working hard to improve its infrastructure, and we look forward to continuing to work with Senator Helming in the future,” Geneva Mayor Ron Alcock said.

“With this funding, the Town of Lyons will be able to replace the water lines in the former village, which is the oldest part of the system. It is important that we help all of our children and families have good, clean drinking water, and this grant will ensure that we are able to do that. We thank Senator Helming for her leadership in passing this critical Clean Water Infrastructure Act and for her continued support of Lyons and all of the communities she represents,” Lyons Supervisor Brian Manktelow said.

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