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New York Wants to Spend $2 Billion to Fix Water and Sewer Pipes

New York wants to spend $2 billion to fix its water and sewer pipes, which the state says is a small price to pay to save as much as $80 billion if the lines have to be replaced.

According to the Associated Press, the Erie County Water Authority had 1,453 water main breaks in 2015. There were nearly 400 the same year in Syracuse, where local officials calculated last year that they’ll need $726 million to fix 550 miles of pipe. In New York City, an estimated 20 percent of the treated water that enters municipal pipes leaks out before it makes it to a faucet.

“It’s becoming more and more of a problem,” said New York Governor Andrew, in the AP story. “The time to address it is now.”
Water systems often go neglected because they are out of sight and unless something goes wrong, they remain off the radar. At the same time, communities have other pressing financial needs — all of which compete for finite resources.

However, in New York and over the last 12 months, water quality became a top priority when an industrial chemical PFOA was found to have tainted the tap water of the upstate village of Hoosick Falls, says the AP.  Nationwide, EPA says that the cost of replacing, upgrading and expanding sewer and drinking water systems is $1 trillion over 20 years, it adds.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Liz Moran, of the group Environmental Advocates of New York, in the AP story. “But it still falls short.”

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