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Troy woman calls for vigilance as tests reveal lead in pipes

Jul 16, 2023

Water pipes containing elevated levels of lead continue to be an issue in communities across upstate New York, leading one mother in Troy to share her story in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of contaminated water.

“I just hope everyone knows,” Troy resident Jona Favreau said.

Favreau resides in a community where a service line connecting her home to the city’s water supply contains lead.

“I hope that they start taking action by testing and educating themselves on the potential harm,” she said.

The mom of two said elevated levels of lead were detected in her home's drinking water through a series of tests by the city’s Department of Public Utilities. It was not surprising news to Favreau because of what her 2-year-old son’s routine blood tests revealed last fall.

“That’s when we learned it was elevated, and we immediately started working to try to find a solution to this issue,” Favreau said.

In addition to limiting their intake of water and running their faucets for up to three minutes before using it, Favreau has deployed various other techniques to reduce the risks associated with lead exposure.

“The correct certification that someone should look for in a filter should they want to filter the water in their home is NFS Standard 58. I’ll shout that from the rooftops,” she said.

Resolving the issue requires replacing the service line.

“I believe the numbers are anywhere between $5,000 and $8,000, depending on how far it is from the main water line,” Favreau said. It's a hefty bill she believes the city should foot.

“Lead is an issue nationwide as we all know,” Troy Department of Public Utilities Superintendent Chris Whelan said.

Whelan said right now, there's $500,000 to help homeowners upgrade their service lines.

“How do we take the 13,000 services in the city of Troy and spread out $500,000 equally?” he said.

He said the city must have a better understanding of where the lead is in order to strategically start disbursing the money.

“I don’t want to hit just 50 homes and say we’re good. No, there is a problem, a bigger problem,” Whelan said.

The city is working to build a citywide inventory and replacement plan to hopefully present at next week’s city council meeting.

“As the EPA changes the rules, as the state is coming out with regulations, we’re trying to develop a plan that we can put in our rules and regulations and move forward with,” Whelan said.

In the meantime, Favreau remains vigilant and encourages her neighbors to be the same.

“I don’t know if we’ve become desensitized in Troy because a lot of people seem to know about the lead, but don't know about the consequences of having it in the water,” she said.