TROY, N.Y. – Mayor Wm. Patrick Madden and Troy’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) announced that the lead water service line replacement program will continue on Excelsior Avenue in Troy’s Eastside Neighborhood starting Thursday, October 19, 2023. Work will continue for the remainder of the construction season which, weather permitting, may stretch into late November.
“The City of Troy is committed to getting the lead out of our families’ drinking water and we appreciate the cooperation, patience, and partnership of our neighbors on Excelsior Avenue as we complete this disruptive yet important work on this narrow roadway,” said Mayor Madden. “I am working to ensure that our service line replacement program which, thanks to our DPU staff, is leading the region in efficiency, equity and inventory, may continue for years to come by allocating for the resources, management and staffing DPU needs in my Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal.”
A DPU field representative will notify homeowners whose water line will be replaced prior to the start of work at least one day in advance so residents may plan for any interruption of service.
Work on the lead water service line replacement program coincides with curb and sidewalk projects in the City. Excelsior Avenue residents should expect that upgraded pedestrian infrastructure will follow the service line replacement work.
No Parking Signs will be placed the night before they take effect. Motorists are asked to slow down in the construction zones, observe all posted traffic restrictions, and watch for flaggers and equipment operating in the street right-of-way areas. Commuters should expect to encounter roadwork in the area and are encouraged to seek alternate routes of travel if possible.
The contractors performing the service line replacement work will begin bringing equipment to Excelsior Ave on Wednesday, October 18. A mini backhoe will remain onsite for the duration of work, but all other pickup trucks and tools will be removed at the end of each day.
The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal
Mayor Madden recently put forth The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal, an executive spending plan currently being deliberated by Troy’s City Council. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal includes Enterprise Fund budgets for Water ($13,931,662) and Sewer ($3,980,124) service, and a DPU Restructure Plan to maintain high-quality water service for Troy’s ratepayers.
The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) is showing the strains of increasing regulatory oversight, aging infrastructure, demands on our systems arising from increasing development—largely from outside of Troy—and a staffing structure that is insufficient to meet these growing demands. DPU, the Madden Administration and Troy’s City Council have an ethical and contractual responsibility to the 140,000 customers across three counties who depend on DPU every day for reliable, potable water.
Rather than abdicate this responsibility, the Madden Administration is leading with action. The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal includes a modest water rate increase of $0.40/1000 gallons to help fund the forward-looking DPU Restructure Plan. This increase amounts to approximately $5.00 per quarter for the average family of four, and is an investmentment in the materials, labor, and infrastructure necessary to improve the quality of Troy drinking water by addressing lead water service lines, calibrating Ph levels, and ensuring we have the staff to meet the challenges of increasing regulations.
As Troy DPU manages a region-leading lead water service line replacement program, the multi-phase Tomhannock water line replacement project, federal and state regulatory compliance related to water quality and dam safety, and much, much more, the task of providing clean water to our homes, businesses and institutions has grown increasingly complicated.
The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal’s DPU Restructure Plan would maintain a superintendent position at DPU and reinstate the following three Civil Service Commission-approved UPSEU positions:
The DPU Restructure Plan will result in a more capable and sagacious Department of Public Utilities; one with the capacity to keep up with best practices in an evolving industry while maintaining into the coming generations the high-quality services, exacting potable water standards and emergency response preparedness that our families both deserve and have come to expect.
The DPU Restructure Plan is critical to the DPU’s ability to maintain high-quality services over the long-term to many families across the Region who depend on us to provide safe drinking water from the Tomhannock Reservoir—precisely why the Madden Administration is prioritizing its inclusion in The Neighborhood Reinvestment Budget Proposal.
Important Information about Lead in City of Troy Drinking Water
Lead is a common metal found in the environment. Drinking water is one possible source of lead exposure because before 1975 it was used in some plumbing materials.
We are committed to removing lead pipe water service because of the health impact it may have on residents. Lead can cause serious health problems if too much enters your body from drinking water or other sources, especially for pregnant women and children six years and younger. It can cause damage to the brain and kidneys and can interfere with the production of red blood cells that carry oxygen to all parts of your body. Scientists have linked the effects of lead on the brain with lowered IQ in children. Adults with kidney problems and high blood pressure can be affected by low levels of lead more than healthy adults. Lead is stored in the bones, and it can be released later in life. During pregnancy, the child receives lead from the mother's bones, which may affect brain development.
The City of Troy is committed to the removal of all lead service lines from our community. City officials request your cooperation. If you live in a home built before 1975 and have not had a water service inspection at your home by the DPU, you should contact DPU as soon as possible at (518) 237-0343. There is no charge for a technician to come to your home for an inspection.
The City of Troy is building a comprehensive assessment of where lead service lines are located in our neighborhoods. We call this our “inventory” of lead service lines. The city has inventoried 43% of water service lines and continues to urge residents to report the material their water service line is made of to DPU (whether it is made of lead or not, DPU must be informed).
There are many steps residents may take if their home is receiving water service through a lead water service line.
Steps Residents Can Take To Reduce Exposure To Lead In Drinking Water:
Run your water to flush out lead. Run water for several minutes before using it for drinking or cooking, if it hasn't been used for several hours. This flushes lead-containing water from the pipes.
Use cold water for cooking and preparing baby formula. Do not cook with or drink water from the hot water tap; lead dissolves more easily into hot water. Do not use water from the hot water tap to make baby formula.
Do not boil water to remove lead. Boiling water will not reduce lead.
Replace your plumbing fixtures if they are found to contain lead. Plumbing materials including brass faucets, fittings,and valves, including those advertised as “lead-free," may contribute lead to drinking water. The law previously allowed end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, with up to 8 percent lead to be labeled as “lead free." As of Jan. 4, 2014, end-use brass fixtures, such as faucets, fittings and valves, must meet the new "lead-free" definition of having no more than 0.25 percent lead on a weighted average. Visit the National Sanitation Foundation website at: http://www.nsf.org/newsroom_pdf/Lead_free_certification_marks.pdf to learn more about lead-containing plumbing fixtures and how to identify lead-free certification marks on new fixtures.
Use bottled water or use a water filter. If your home is served by a lead service line, and/or if lead containing plumbing materials are found to be in your home, you may want to consider purchasing bottled water or a water filter. Read the package to be sure the filter is approved to reduce lead or contact NSF International at (800) NSF-8010 or visit https://info.nsf.org/Certified/dwtu/listings_leadreduction.asp, for a consumer guide of approved water filters. Be sure to maintain and replace a filter device in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions to protect water quality.
Any measure you take to reduce your exposure to lead should be continued until the lead source(s) has been minimized or eliminated.
During the first half of 2023, the City of Troy completed representative sample testing at 60 different residential properties. Analysis of the samples showed lead exceedances at certain locations. No lead was detected in the City's source water and the City's mains are not of lead construction.
Here are sources of additional information:
Call the Troy Department of Public Utilities at (518) 237-0343 or visit our website at troyny.gov/lead about city inspections and available assistance.
Contact your Rensselaer County Health Department at (518) 270-2640 to determine if you qualify for a free lead risk assessment of your property where children under 6 years of age.
You can also learn more by contacting the New York State Department of Health directly by calling the toll-free number (within New York State) 1 (800) 458-1158, extension 27650, or out of state at (518) 402-7650, or by email at email@example.com.
For more information on reducing lead exposure around your home/building and the health effects of lead, visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website at www.epa.gov/lead, or call the National Lead Information Center at 1 (800) 424-LEAD.