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Erie County's water infrastructure could use some help from the state

Officials with the Erie County Water Authority are pleased with an announcement from State officials indicating New York's new budget includes $200-million dollars for communities interested in upgrading frail water infrastructures.

Municipalities can apply for up to $5 million in grants administered through the Environmental Facilities Corporation.  Few other details have been released regarding the program, though most observers believe such investment is long overdue.

WBFO Morning Edition Host Jay Moran spoke with Rob Gaylord, Executive Director of the Water Authority about Erie County's aging water system.

Gaylord says the county has more than 3,000 miles of water distribution lines. He notes about 570 of those miles are old cast iron pipe between the ages of 40 and 80 years old, some even 100 years old.  Gaylord says 87% of the county's water main problems this winter were in those areas with aging infrastructure.  He adds it can cost between $1-million to $3-million per mile to replace water main pipes depending on their location and other factors. He notes any state funds would be directed at high priority areas where issues exist.

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Jay joined Buffalo Toronto Public Media in 2008 and has been local host for NPR's "Morning Edition" ever since. In June, 2022, he was named one of the co-hosts of WBFO's "Buffalo, What's Next."

A graduate of St. Mary's of the Lake School, St. Francis High School and Buffalo State College, Jay has worked most of his professional career in Buffalo. Outside of public media, he continues in longstanding roles as the public address announcer for the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and as play-by-play voice of Canisius College basketball.