Hundreds of lead water pipes that connect to homes in Point Lookout will be replaced, officials said.
Hempstead Town Supervisor Laura Gillen said at a news conference on Thursday that 500 lead pipes that service 1,200 residents will be replaced before they decay and potentially release toxins.
Lead is a toxic metal, and the corrosion of lead pipes can contaminate water supply, as was the case in Flint, Michigan, Gillen said.
“The lead pipes that are currently in service connect the water main to the service line. There are approximately 500 these kinds of pipes called ‘goosenecks’ in use,” Gillen said.
Lead was the standard material used in the 1920s during Point Lookout’s transformation into a yearlong residential area, officials said.
Employees spent months surveying the community and inspecting the underground infrastructure, Gillen said. “We were able to identify that the lead portions of these pipes are isolated to only these specific kinds of pipes.”
The 100-year-old lead pipes currently meet environmental safety guidelines, she said, and the town regularly tests its water supply.
“These pipes are reaching the ends of their life spans, so replacing them now, before they start to break down, is of the utmost importance,” Gillen said.
The New York State Health Department awarded the Town of Hempstead more than $600,000 in grant money for the project, officials said.
Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, joined Gillen at the podium. “This money, while appreciated, is still just a drop in the bucket compared to what cleaning up corrosive lead would actually cost,” Esposito said.
The town will replace the lead water pipes with copper, a new standard material, Gillen said.
Residents will receive brochures in their mailboxes before work commences, with information on when workers will start fixing the pipes, said Matt Brennan, president of the Point Lookout Civic Association.