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$10 million in funding expected to replace lead pipes in Buffalo

Lead Pipe
Posted at 7:46 PM, Mar 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 19:46:40-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — $10 million dollars is going to remove lead pipes in Buffalo. The funding is part of the more than $331 million the city received from the American Rescue Plan, signed one year ago.

OJ McFoy, Buffalo Sewer Authority General Manager, said there's still about 40,000 lead service lines in Buffalo. That makes up 40-50% of the city.

Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and and Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced this funding on Fargo Avenue on Friday. Brown said help is on the way for landlords who need to have these pipes replaced. However, Brown warned property owners who neglect this issue, and keep renting it out.

"If you do the right thing we will assist you in trying to cure these problems," said Brown. "If you don't do the right thing, then we will come down on you with the full weight and force of the law."

Behind Brown, Higgins and McFoy was a cutout in the road, where a lead pipe was replaced. Part of that lead pipe, seen below, was cut to show the inside. The brown coating inside is a solution that lines the lead pipe so water doesn't touch lead. It was put into pipes with the help of research done at University at Buffalo, according to Mcfoy.

Lead paint is not only found in pipes, but paint as well. Most homes built before 1978 have lead paint and 90% of homes in Buffalo were built before 1978.

The Erie County Health Department said, "Children who live or stay in homes or apartments that were built in 1978 or before are at greater risk for lead exposure, based on the paint used in that time period."

The health department suggested the following:

  • Children should be tested for blood lead levels at age one and two. You can ask your doctor
  • Continue to follow up with lead exposures questions with your child's pediatrician

Children up to the age of three who have elevated blood lead levels, see below, can be referred to an enrichment program for treatment.

Children Blood Test

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