Schenectady resident in need of lead pipe replacement using neighbor’s water

SCHENECTADY – The city has allowed a property owner who does not have running water to temporarily run a hose from a neighbor’s outside tap.

Gangadai Surooj, owner of the two-family home in Edwards St. 216 near the Mohawk River, has been without water for a month due to broken drinking water pipes in homes made of lead, a costly undertaking to repair.

The compensation for the neighbors’ water is until it gets cold, a city official said.

In the meantime, Surooj said a plumber had given her an estimate of $18,000 to $20,000 to replace the line.

The city used to have grant money to help owners replace their lead service lines, but the money ran out last year, according to Paul LaFond, city commissioner for general services.

An untold number of houses in the city have lead facades. The city has not made an inventory of the approximately 16,000 structures in the city.

But according to LaFond, about 80 property owners benefited from a state subsidy for the replacement of the shipping service that handed out $516,000 to the city’s residents.

The grant program, announced in November 2017 as part of the state’s Clean Water Infrastructure Act, remained active for more than a year after it was set to expire. The money eventually ran out last year, LaFond said.

Water pipes are the responsibility of the city, while the sidings of the home, the service pipes that lead to a particular property, are the responsibility of the homeowner.

Despite the city code describing the latter, Surooj said she believes the city should pay for her line replacement.

Surooj said she should be considered because she pays about $6,000 in property taxes annually, which she says is more than her neighbors because she has the only two-family in the area.

She also noted that her elderly parents live in the building. She said her father is a dialysis and heart patient.

Surooj said city officials have told her that the health ministry will eventually issue a notice to evacuate on the basis that it has no running water, making it uninhabitable.

But LaFond said the city was doing everything it could for Suroosj, whom LaFond has been working with since early last week.

He said the city has informed the owner that there are programs available to help them through Better Community Neighborhoods if they qualify, or the provincial Department of Social Services, which provides emergency assistance to adults who receive supplemental income and who can afford it. dealing with emergencies that endanger their health, safety or well-being.

LaFond said he went to Social Services, returned home owner requests, and told her to contact Social Services because the request had to come from the homeowner. Awards are based on income.

LaFond said he also suggested checking with local banks to see if she qualifies for home improvement or equity loans.

The landlord next door who shares water through his hose tap had his property’s lead pipes replaced last year.

Occasionally, a city dweller will be mistaken in thinking that the city’s job is to replace the side walls of a house.

“It happens a few times,” Lafond said, “but once we share with them the portion of the code that indicates responsibility, a lot of them just aren’t aware of it. Not everyone goes in and reads the city code when they see it.” buy a home here.

“But some of them are aware of it,” he said. “They get their quotes from the plumbers and we usually notify them through a letter that they have a service leak. We have a list of over 100 licensed and bonded plumbers that we give to them. They get their quotes and it gets something between the owner and their contractor.”

At least one other local community has funds to help owners replace lead service lines. The Albany Water Department recently launched a program to help homeowners replace lead services in an effort to have unleaded service pipes Albany by 2040. It offers compensation of up to $2,000 to assist in the complete replacement of a lead service line.

Renters or homeowners unable to complete a replacement can receive free water filters for any household with a water sample that tests high for lead, more than 10 parts per billion.

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