Part of federal infrastructure bill includes funds to address aging water infrastructure

Northeast Region

CAPITAL REGION, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Communities across the Capital Region are awaiting potential funding to address aging water infrastructure. Senator Charles Schumer announced Wednesday that the state had secured over $428 million through the federal infrastructure bill to go towards water projects.

The announcement comes as the region has seen two significant breaks this week alone in Gloversville and Albany. The break in Gloversville impacted a transmission line into the city, putting everyone under a boil water advisory. When trying to isolate the break, a more than 100-year-old shut off system failed.

“As they were trying to close that off, it fell apart on them, it actually exploded,” Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis explained, adding that any funding from the federal package would be a boon for the city.

While the incident on Swan Street in Albany hasn’t had much of an impact on customers, crews had difficulty getting the water shut off after the break occurred.

“It’s not always the pipes, it’s the valves. Because these valves are that old, but in a lot of cases, they’ve not been operated, or had to need to operate these valves in 60 years,” said Albany Water Commissioner Joe Coffey.

But help could be coming to communities through the recently passed federal infrastructure bill, which includes over $428 million to New York State to help upgrade drink and wastewater infrastructure and provide safe drinking water.

In part, the Senate Majority Leader said, “This federal funding means jobs, jobs, jobs and will help upgrade aging water infrastructure, including replacing dangerous lead pipes. I will continue to fight tooth and nail to keep our water systems flowing, jobs growing, and keep New Yorkers safe and healthy.”

“We’ll take it,” Coffey exclaimed when asked about the prospect of federal infrastructure funding. However, he added that every municipality should have plans to address its aging infrastructure beyond government assistance.

“We have to look at how we charge our customers water and sewer rates and dedicate a portion of that to replacement,” he said.

Over the years, the City of Albany has taken steps to replace certain lines, evaluating which are the most at-risk due to their age, or could have the most substantial impact if a failure was to occur, “We’re trying to systematically look at where we’ve had the higher number of breaks and look at those, and try to replace those old water mains,” Coffey explained.

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