News Briefs: Montreal Increases Spending to Replace Lead Laterals

In this week’s news briefs, the city of Montreal budgets $540 million for an expansive lead pipe replacement project, and the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s top pick for executive director drops out.
News Briefs: Montreal Increases Spending to Replace Lead Laterals

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The city of Montreal is doubling its budget to replace lead pipes that carry water to nearly 70,000 homes.

When officials announced in 2007 that the city-owned portion of the targeted lead laterals would be replaced by 2026, the projected cost was $248 million. According to a report in the Montreal Gazette, the price tag has increased to $540 million. A city spokesperson says the original estimate was low because the city thought it could reduce costs by coordinating replacements alongside planned water main and road reconstruction work. Instead, the city is encountering many lead pipes in areas without any additional work scheduled.

About 9,000 homes have been addressed so far. Of the remaining homes, 50,000 will be individual lead line replacements and 10,000 will be done as part of larger projects. The push to replace the lead pipes started after Quebec lowered the acceptable standard for lead in drinking water from 0.05 mg/L to 0.01 mg/L. The homes targeted for replacement showed lead levels lower than 0.05 mg/L, but they didn’t meet the new standard.

Source: Montreal Gazette

Over $56 Million in Grants Awarded to New York Water Infrastructure Projects
Thirty critical water infrastructure projects in the Capital District and Mohawk Valley in New York state are being supported by $56.4 million of grants funded through the state’s Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.

“Investing in our water infrastructure is critical for the growth and vitality of local communities across New York,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in his announcement of the grant awards. “This funding will help communities make necessary upgrades that will improve water quality, protect natural resources, and ease burdens on local property taxpayers.”

It was the first in a series of announcements kicking off the second round of grants. The budget for New York’s 2016-17 fiscal year also includes an additional $100 million slotted for water infrastructure improvement grants. That means a total of $175 million will be awarded as part of the second round.

Source: press release

Candidate For Pittsburgh Sewer Authority Job Drops Out
Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority’s pick for its new executive director is out before he even has a chance to start the job.

Kenneth Charles Griffin withdrew his application this week following controversy that arose about his work history, according to a report in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The current interim director, David Donahoe, will remain in place until Aug. 31 while the authority evaluates its options. Griffin’s withdrawal came via email and no reason was given for the decision.

The day after his selection the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Griffin had been terminated from a similar job at a water and sewer authority in South Carolina based on available media reports. Griffin said he resigned from that post, then later described it as a "forced resignation." Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto didn’t ask for Griffin’s withdrawal, but he did call for accountability by the PWSA in its vetting and hiring process.

“There’s still a gray area about what was known (by the PWSA),” Peduto told reporters.

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


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