City officials are providing the following important information about lead pipes in the city.
Lead in drinking water does not come from the Poughkeepsies' Water Treatment Plant. However, homes built before 1986 may contain lead services or lead solder in the pipes. Lead enters the water by corrosion, or wearing away, of lead in the service line and household plumbing.
Though no amount of lead exposure is considered safe, the Environmental Protection Agency has established regulations that mandate communities must take action if certain lead content levels are exceeded.
In 1997 the city initiated treatment to substantially reduce corrosion in lead pipes. Ninety percent of the customers tested in 2022 had a lead content of the city's water of 1.8 parts per billion. The highest test result was 8.4 parts per billion, which is below the 15 parts per billion threshold set by the Environmental Protection Agency.
The city has about 5,500 service lines with lead pipes. The city projects it would take about $163 million to replace them all. So far, the city has received about $544,000 and has completed work on 16 projects. These projects involved day care facilities and residences where young children and immune system compromised residents live. You can read more about those projects here.
The city applied for an additional grant in 2022 but did not receive funding at that time but reapplied this June to build out its lead pipe inventory. The city also has met with Congressman Pat Ryan, state representatives and federal Environmental Protection Agency and state Health Department officials regarding other funding sources.
Lead Service Line replacement costs go to construction, including materials, equipment, workforce; engineering fees for planning, design and construction; legal fees; municipal administration fees; and for site/property restoration.
Significantly, the city has decided to use the best practices model of replacing the whole line, from the water main to the residence. Some municipalities pay for only the portion running from the water main to the curb, leaving private property owners to pay for the rest of the project and running the risk that the project does not get fully completed.
Under state and federal laws, the city is required to have a program in place to minimize lead in drinking water. This program includes corrosion control treatment, source water treatment, and public education, and is currently in progress. In addition, we are working closely with the Poughkeepsies' Water Treatment Plant and County officials to address this issue and keep residents informed.
For more information about Poughkeepsie's water, call 845-451-4192.