With some of the oldest infrastructure in the nation, the pipes under New York state are failing, according to a report by NBC New York, which added that the EPA estimates the state faces $22 billion in costs to repair old pipes in the next 20 years, while a state projection puts the amount at $39 billion.
“We trade in our cellphones after one year. We trade in TVs because we want a bigger screen. But we’re content to live with more-than-100-year-old pipes,” said New York Congressman Paul Tonko in the NBC report. “Believing they will be there forever is unreasonable.”
New York is hit especially hard by breaking pipes because of the freeze-and-thaw cycle of the northeastern winter and because many pipes under New York’s cities and towns are at least a century old, according to the NBC article.
“Once you shift the ground and put it against an older pipe that’s become brittle, then it’s snap! You’ve got a break,” said Robert Lichtenthal, deputy director at the Erie County Water Authority to NBC New York.
New York City saw 513 water main breaks last year, while estimates say 20 percent of the treated water that enters the city’s pipes leaks out before it reaches the faucet, according to the NBC report, which added that the state’s Environmental Facilities Corp. approved more than $400 million for drinking water projects last year while state lawmakers approved an additional $200 million in water funding earlier in 2015.