The City of Troy receives nearly $13 million in federal funding for lead pipe replacement

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pointing to nearly $13 million in federal funding to replace lead residential plumbing in Troy.

The New York Democrat says $3.9 million of the $12.8 million awarded through the bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act is an interest-free loan to replace lead-contaminated water pipes. Schumer says the city is leading the way, with more than 51 percent of lines completed before the October deadline to account for all utilities.

“My message to every city in the Capital Region is: Apply. “First come, first served,” Schumer said. “The reason Troy receives such a large scholarship is because of the good work they have done themselves. So apply for any location, whether you are a city or a village.”

The grant follows a previous investment of $500,000 from the federal government and millions from the American Rescue Plan Act. Schumer says the more citizens participate and have their lines tested, the more resources will be available. Schumer adds that older communities will likely receive a disproportionate amount of money.

“Up there in Saratoga County there are all these new homes that don’t have lead pipes, so they’re not going to get as much as the older places,” Schumer said.

The city began inventorying and replacing its contaminated pipes last year when residents began asking why the city hadn't spent $500,000 in state grants to replace the old lead pipes. Former Mayor Patrick Madden, a Democrat, told WAMC the city didn't spend the money because the funds would be just a drop in the bucket to solve the problem. After public comment, the city began the process with only 10 percent of the required funds.

Since then, the city has replaced about 200 of the approximately 2,800 contaminated lines.

Mayor Carmella Mantello says the Lansingburgh and Eastside neighborhoods have been hit hardest.

“We hit clusters. So what we're trying to do, instead of doing a one-off here and there, is we're grouping the houses together,” Mantello said. “The next stop will be Highland Ave. his, that's near Sycaway. There are about 13 houses between Eastside and Sycaway, and we tie that into all the other projects.”

The Republican has vowed to replace all contaminated pipes in her first four years in office, calling it an all-hands-on-deck effort.

“A lot of people say it’s impossible. I never say it's impossible, in my eyes it's possible. And if we can't do it, we just can't do it. But I will do everything humanly possible with our team and outside contractors to make this happen,” Mantello said. “So now we have the funding, but we can stop here.”

State Sen. Jake Ashby, a Republican from the 43rd District, says replacing lead pipes across the region is an ongoing, bipartisan issue.

“I think people often wonder what the priorities are, whether it's Albany or D.C., because of all the fights and discussions,” Ashby said. “It's nice to see and gives me a little new hope that we have things like this going on here, major infrastructure projects that have bipartisan support and that we know will serve people for generations.”

Mantello says the next step is to engage landlords who own multiple properties.

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