SCHUMER REVEALS: NEW YORK’S 360,000 LEAD PIPES TO SEE OVERHAUL BECAUSE OF VITAL FUNDS IN BIPARTISAN INFRASTRUCTURE BILL; SENATOR FOCUSED ON DELIVERING $15+ BILLION NATIONWIDE TO ELIMINATE LEAD PIPES & ENSURE NY’S CHILDREN & FAMILIES GET THE CLEAN DRINKING WATER THEY DESERVE DURING NEGOTIATIONS
New York Has Approx. 360,000 Lead Service Pipes Throughout State, The 4th Largest Number Of Pipes In The Country
Bipartisan Infrastructure & Jobs Bill Schumer Negotiated Will Provide The Needed $$$ To Remove Dangerous Lead Service Pipes ASAP And Boost Union Jobs
Schumer: Protecting Our Children’s Health Must Be Our #1 Priority
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, joined by Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, announced that the Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs bill he negotiated in the Senate, which was just signed by the president into law, will deliver major victories to help ensure clean water in New York and eliminate toxic lead pipes. Schumer said that the infrastructure bill makes one of the largest federal investments in water infrastructure and eliminating lead service pipes in history. Schumer said that there is $15 billion in the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund specifically for lead service pipe replacement included in the bill. He also detailed other programs included in the legislation to help eliminate lead pipes in New York.
Schumer said that New York has approximately 360,000 lead pipes still delivering water to people’s homes, the 4th largest number of lead service lines in the country. Schumer said that lead is known to cause severe health problems for children and adults alike, including damage to the brain and nervous systems, cardiovascular diseases, and adverse effects on the reproductive system and kidneys. With the bipartisan infrastructure deal’s new cash infusion that he helped deliver, New York will have access to additional funds needed to replace lead water pipes across the city and state, which will both protect public health and boost local union jobs.
“There is nothing more important than keeping New York’s children’s drinking water safe, and this legislation will make the largest federal investment ever solely dedicated to getting toxic lead pipes out of our communities—which will both protect public health and boost family-sustaining union jobs,” said Senator Schumer. “We know from Flint that lead pipes can be a ticking time bomb for community health – especially poor and Black and Brown communities – and we must move now to remove and replace these pipes. For years I have been a staunch advocate for increased testing and elimination of lead pipes from our homes, schools, and water systems. As Majority Leader, I am proud to deliver this critical funding to supercharge efforts to ‘Get the Lead Out!’ and make sure New Yorkers have clean and safe water and I will continue to fight until not one lead pipe remains in New York.”
“The added benefit is that this effort also boosts the economy and helps us recover from COVID,” Schumer added.
Schumer explained that the bipartisan infrastructure and jobs bill will make one of the largest federal investments ever in water infrastructure and explicitly eliminating lead service pipes. Specifically, the senator highlighted a $15 billion carve out within the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF) over the next 5 years ($3 billion every year) for lead service pipe replacement. One hundred percent of the funding is for lead pipe replacement and states are not required to provide a cost share. Additionally, forty-nine percent of the funding will be administered as grants and completely forgivable loans to target aid towards disadvantaged communities who disproportionately experience the impact of lead pipes.
“The issue of lead in our pipes and drinking water is directly a matter of environmental justice, and that is why I proudly supported both the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better Act,” said Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “It is long past time we remove outdated and dangerous lead pipes, and with the funding fought hard by Senator Schumer and Congressional Democrats in these bills, we will finally be able to make serious progress in eliminating lead in our water once and for all."
"I congratulate Senator Schumer on successful efforts to ensure every New Yorker can enjoy clean and safe drinking water," Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said. “Across our city we experience environmental segregation, we see this when low-income and minority New Yorkers are disproportionately affected by aging, unsafe lead pipes, and Washington Republicans said the problem was too expensive to fix and offered no solution. Now Senator Schumer is leading where others offered excuses. The people of New York thank him."
Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters said, "The New York League of Conservation Voters thanks Senator Schumer for his leadership in prioritizing clean water for all in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. We know there are no safe levels of lead, something children are especially vulnerable to. Earlier this year, the League released a report “5 is the New 15” about how we need to take action here in New York State to protect students and staff from lead exposure in public school drinking water. This is the moment to push forward with transformative investments in environmental justice, and we must seize this opportunity to uplift communities that have faced generations-long challenges by ensuring funds prioritize removal of lead service lines in disadvantaged communities, including our public schools impacted by elevated lead levels. The House has acted on Build Back Better, and now is the time for the Senate to take action and provide more funding for lead service line replacements."
In addition to the $15 billion in the DWSRF, the legislation also includes language reauthorizing the EPA’s lead reduction projects grant program and increases the program’s authorization to $100 million annually through fiscal year 2026. It also amends the grant program to clarify that the program is intended for the replacement of any lead service line, and that eligible entities shall give priority for lead pipe service line replacement to disadvantaged communities.
Schumer highlighted the below additional programs included in the legislation to help eliminate lead pipes in NY:
- Lead Contamination in School Drinking Water: The Voluntary School and Childcare Lead Testing Grant is authorized for $200 million over the next 5 years. The program is also amended to make public water systems and eligible nonprofit organizations that service schools and childcare locations eligible grant recipients. It also expands the program to allow funds to be used for compliance monitoring as well as lead reduction projects.
- Technical Assistance and Grants for Emergencies Affecting Public Water Systems: The legislation extends an expired authority in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to provide resources to communities that face a public water system emergency. The fund will help mitigate drinking water threats to public health, and is amended to expand the definition of emergency situations to include an intrusion of lead into the drinking water supply or an emergency situation resulting from a cybersecurity event. The program is reauthorized at $35 million for each of fiscal years from 2022 through 2026.
- Assistance for Small and Disadvantaged Communities Program: The program is expanded to allow for use of funds to purchase filters and filtration systems that remove contaminants of concern from public drinking water systems and for providing information regarding proper filtration use and maintenance and options regarding replacing lead service lines or other sources of lead from water systems and technical assistance. The program is authorized for a total of $510 million over the next 5 years.