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Mount Vernon receives $1 million to find potentially dangerous lead pipes

Mount Vernon receives $1 million to find lead pipes
Mount Vernon receives $1 million to find lead pipes 01:53

MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. -- There is a new plan to track down potentially dangerous lead pipes in Mount Vernon.

As CBS2's Doug Williams explains, residents are being asked to help identify trouble spots.

The water is lead-free, but the pipes at home may not be -- that's the message from Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard while announcing a plan to track down old lead pipes.

"All of the water is clean and lead-free, but we want to make sure that as it leaves the city's water facility and it comes into your home, that your pipes that connect to the city's pipes are lead-free," she said.

Mount Vernon received $1 million from the New York State Department of Health to seek out lead pipes. The mayor is asking that residents allow city inspections on their pipes, and quickly. By October 2024, the city needs to report back their findings to the state in hopes it will provide money to remove the old lead pipes and install new ones.

Of the handful of Mount Vernon residents CBS2 spoke to Wednesday, not a single one said they drank the tap water. Some said because of taste, others cited the concerns the city is trying to address.

"If we don't have clean water, then it's a health crisis," Mount Vernon resident Cliford Gresseau said.

"I really don't know. I just drink bottled water," another resident said.

"I use it to my wash face and I use it for bathing, you know ... But no, I never drink it," another resident said.

City officials wouldn't confirm whether they've had cases of lead exposure in the city, but medical experts say lead in drinking water is especially harmful to young children who can suffer permanent impairment. It can be hard to spot the effects without a blood test.

"You want to take immediate action, and getting your child's lead levels checked would be immediate, and then you would have peace of mind or have information probably within days to know what your status is," said Dr. Ronald Jacobson, chief of pediatric neurosurgery at Maria Fareri Children's Hospital.

Until they report their findings, Patterson-Howard says the city doesn't have the funds to remove and replace lead pipes.

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