For Immediate Release: City of Newburgh Selected for Nationwide Lead Pipe Replacement Program

MEDIA CONTACT: Maureen Cunningham, Environmental Policy Innovation Center, maureen@policyinnovation.org, 518-469-4748

Washington, DC – The Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) has selected the City of Newburgh, New York to participate in a Lead-Free Water Challenge with the goal of helping the city replace all of their lead pipes. As a participant in the program, Newburgh will receive technical assistance, connections to resources and funders, policy guidance, and information-sharing through peer networks.

Approximately 11,000 communities across the country like Newburgh have lead service lines, which were largely installed a century ago. Many of them face steep challenges to know how to get started, where their pipes are, how to secure funding, and how to initiate a replacement program that is equitable for all residents. 

“No one should have to live with the threat of lead in their drinking water, and our goal is to ensure that lead pipes in municipalities across the country become a thing of the past. The Environmental Policy Innovation Center is thrilled to work with Newburgh on its path of replacing all their lead service lines and becoming the first city in New York State to have lead-free water,” said Maureen Cunningham, Deputy Director of Water at the Environmental Policy Innovation Center.

Newburgh is a diverse city with a population of 28,177 in the Hudson Valley region of New York, with an unknown number of lead service lines. The city has begun to remove their lead lines through state funding sources, but requires assistance in identifying how many and where the remaining lines are and obtaining the necessary funding to replace them. As part of its review of the Lead and Copper Rule Revisions, the US EPA has selected Newburgh to share its experiences with lead in drinking water in a virtual community roundtable later this week.

“The City of Newburgh’s partnership with the Environmental Policy Innovation Center is a great step in the right direction towards a lead-free water distribution system. Our commitment to our customers for highest drinking water quality is and always will be our top priority,” says Wayne Vradenburgh, the City of Newburgh’s Water Superintendent.

EPIC has teamed up with Blue Conduit, WaterPIO, Center for Geospatial Solutions,  and other partners to deliver technical assistance to Newburgh and four other municipalities across the country. EPIC’s Lead-Free Water Challenge is supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Spring Point Partners.

Ian Robinson, Managing Director at BlueConduit said, “An actionable inventory is a key step to replacing lead service lines. We are excited to support communities like Newburgh in this program to assist them in getting the lead out of the ground as quickly and efficiently as possible. Lead service lines are present in communities of all sizes, and we are looking forward to helping communities to locate their lead service lines.”

“At WaterPIO, our mission is to help water utilities and local governments of all sizes improve their public communications, so their communities will understand how hard they work to deliver safe, clean water. EPIC’s effort clearly connects with our mission, and we are proud to have been asked to support their important work,” said Mike McGill, President of WaterPIO.

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About Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC): The Environmental Policy Innovation Center (EPIC) is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC whose mission is to build policies that deliver spectacular improvements in the speed and scale of conservation and environmental progress. In our water work, we focus on innovative policies that improve health, access, and affordability; eliminate disparities across water systems; and build public trust in water supplies. EPIC is a member of the Lead Service Line Replacement Collaborative, a joint effort of national public health, water utility, environmental, labor, consumer, housing, and state and local governmental organizations to accelerate full removal of the lead pipes providing drinking water to millions of American homes. www.policyinnovation.org

About BlueConduit: BlueConduit is a water analytics company that uses cutting-edge, predictive machine learning methods to locate lead service lines, empowering local officials with the information to efficiently remove those pipes. Our models enable utilities to focus their resources on digging where the lead is and accelerating the removal of this significant health concern and save millions of dollars in avoided digs. BlueConduit has inventoried more than 500,000 service lines across more than 50 cities in the United States and Canada. Those service lines provide water to more than 1,000,000 residents. www.blueconduit.com

About WaterPIO: Founded in 2016, WaterPIO provides award-winning public communications services to water and wastewater operations all over the country. WaterPIO calls upon more than 50 years of experience working in water and three decades of news production and public relations expertise. www.waterpio.com