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Glen Cove launches program to remove lead pipes at homes

Glen Cove officials said they will help homeowners

Glen Cove officials said they will help homeowners assess whether they are using lead pipes. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Glen Cove is launching a program to remove old lead pipes that connect residents’ homes to the water main. The city expects to have the program, which is funded through a state grant, in place by the end of the year.

"If you have a lead line — that your sewer line … has lead in it — and it runs from your house to the street, it has to be replaced. You have to take the lead out of that," Mayor Timothy Tenke said at a Dec. 1 city council work session.

The state awarded the city a $627,327 grant to pay for the cost of removing the lead pipes.

"You have these lead pipes that were put underground, because they didn’t rust, they didn’t corrode, because they were made out of lead, but yet they leached out into the soil and contaminated groundwater," Tenke said.

The state program, called Lead Service Line Replacement Program, was included in the 2017 Clean Water Infrastructure Act and is being run by the New York State Department of Health, which selected Glen Cove to receive the grant, according to city officials.

The city plans to review city records and Geographic Information System mapping software to try to locate the pipes.

City officials said during the work session that the pipes are generally not present in homes built after 1950. The city plans to send flyers to residents with their water bills that contain instructions on how to assess their pipes for lead or to have the city test them. Residents found to have lead pipes will then be able to have them removed and replaced at no cost to themselves through the city program.

The city will pay for the upfront costs, which will then be reimbursed by the state health department under the grant.

The city council approved entering into the grant program with the state at its May 12 meeting. The contract between the city and state includes $535,950 for construction and $62,700 for engineering and inspection, city spokeswoman Shannon Vulin said in an email. The program is fully funded by the state grant and does not include a local match.

The city council planned to vote at its Tuesday meeting on hiring Oyster Bay-based Walden Environmental Engineering PLLC for up to $62,660 to provide design, engineering and construction inspection and monitoring services for the program.

THE HAZARDS OF LEAD

Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be toxic and pose dangers to humans, the soil and drinking water:

  • Service line pipes that connect homes to water mains and contain lead can corrode, causing lead to enter the drinking water.
  • Areas with water that has high acidity or low mineral content are especially prone to corroded lead pipes and fixtures.
  • Lead exposure can also result from fixtures that used lead solder.
  • Lead exposure in children can affect their growth, behavior and learning ability, cause anemia, kidney damage and hearing loss.
  • Adults can suffer decreased brain and kidney function and increased blood pressure from lead exposure.
  • Lead exposure increases the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women.

SOURCES: New York State Department of Health, Environmental Protection Agency

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