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 was built in 1870 so had lead pipes. Dee replaced the lead pipes earlier this year.

“This is where it started leaking,” Dee explained. “A bit of geyser started, so I knew we had to replace it so it didn’t damage the neighborhood or the building.”

Just outside his property, the city of Syracuse is replacing their lead pipes connected to his.

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

With more than 14,000 whistles in the city of Syracuse, this is an expensive undertaking. Replacing a line costs between $12,000 and $14,000.

“We’re talking well over $100 million to do all this,” Walsh explained.

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

“It’s just urgent because of the impact it’s having on our children and communities of color,” Senator Gillibrand said. “So I’m pleased that all the mayors I’ve spoken to are really trying to lean forward. But I would apply for all your money.”

Because one in 10 children in Syracuse has elevated blood lead levels, Mayor Walsh said the city will seek this funding as they continue to tackle the problem tube by tube.

The Water Board has a number of replacement projects underway. They have already replaced 50 service lines on Butternut Street.

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