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DEC Announces $87 Million for Water Quality Projects
New York Ag Connection - 12/28/2017

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced that grants totaling $87 million for 95 water quality improvement projects across the state are being made available through Round VII of the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) awards. The 95 projects identified through the REDC initiative will improve and protect water quality, reduce polluted runoff, and restore aquatic habitats. Funded projects include $14.6 million for land acquisition to safeguard water quality, $58 million to improve and update waste water infrastructure, $5 million to improve salt storage, and more than $1 million to protect and restore aquatic habitat, in addition to other funded projects.

Commissioner Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo has made New York a national leader by making historic investments in water infrastructure across the state and ensuring safe, quality drinking water for all of our communities. From Western New York to Suffolk County, from the Southern Tier to the North Country, the Governor is launching aggressive water quality initiatives that support critical water infrastructure improvements. These Water Quality Improvement Project grants build on the State's ongoing commitment to protect vital drinking water and have the power to economically revitalize these communities."

The Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program is a competitive, statewide reimbursement grant program open to local governments and not-for-profit corporations to implement projects that directly address documented water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source. The program includes projects to improve wastewater treatment, salt storage, aquatic habitat restoration, land acquisition, municipal separate storm sewer systems and non?agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control. The REDC initiative supports economic development, strategic plan implementation, and job creation across New York State.

Examples of the 95 funded projects include:

Capital Region: The Albany Water Board will build two Floatables Control Facilities to collect floatable debris and materials associated with several combined sewer outfalls in the city of Albany. The project will reduce the fecal coliform levels and floatable materials conveyed to the Hudson River and serve to treat urban stormwater runoff, thereby reducing phosphorus, nitrogen, metals, and other suspended solids.

Central New York: The Nature Conservancy will purchase land in the Owasco lake watershed to protect and restore riparian buffers and wetlands, which will reduce the amount of sediments and nutrients entering Owasco Lake.

Finger Lakes: The Monroe County Soil and Water Conservation District will restore and stabilize a severely eroded section of the Black Creek, install a riparian buffer, create a flood relief channel to protect the practices, and provide training and education to professionals, officials and the public.

Long Island: The village of Patchogue's shoreline project will provide erosion control and protect the area from storm surges and inland flooding.

Mid-Hudson: The town of Patterson will construct a stormwater organic filter to capture and treat road runoff before it enters the Veteran's Memorial Park pond. The project will remove phosphorus and improve water quality in the New York City East of Hudson watershed.

Mohawk Valley: The town of Remsen will build a new salt storage facility adjacent to the current town highway garage. Construction of a storage building will move the existing salt pile away from the village of Remsen's drinking water wells and out of the wellhead protection area.

NYC: NYC Parks will construct a fish passage over the dams at the Bronx Zoo to allow upstream access to an additional 1.4 river miles of spawning habitat for anadromous fish in the Bronx River. The project will restore access to freshwater spawning habitat for river herring and foster population growth of an ecologically important forage fish and target species for restoration efforts.

North Country: The village of Lake George is receiving resources to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant, preventing the release of nutrients and bacteria into the lake and protecting its water quality.

Southern Tier: The town of Southport will sewer approximately 381 residential and commercial parcels that are currently un-sewered. This project will replace onsite sewage disposal systems, most of which do not meet New York State Department of Health minimum standards. This project will help protect the drinking water quality of the public served by the Elmira Water Board and all other downstream water users.

Western New York: The village of Depew received funding to correct sanitary sewer overflow discharges to Scajaquada Creek.

Grant recipients will receive up to 85 percent of the project costs for high priority wastewater treatment improvement projects, up to 40 percent for general wastewater infrastructure improvement projects, and up to 75 percent of the project costs for non-agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, land acquisition for source water protection, salt storage, aquatic habitat restoration, and municipal separate storm sewer system projects.

Funding was made available for the 2017 WQIP program through the state's landmark $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act and through the State's Environmental Protection Fund. A full list of WQIP awards is available on DEC's website at:

Senator Tom O'Mara, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "It continues to be important that New York State is taking steps to distribute this vital funding, as quickly as possible, to help localities undertake critical water infrastructure and other water quality improvement projects. We are also hopeful that it can represent a long-term model for how the state-local partnership can be strengthened for the good of local environments, local economies, and local property taxpayers."

New York State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chairman Steve Englebright said, "The legislature is proud to have partnered with Governor Cuomo to prioritize these critical infrastructure improvements by providing creative financial solutions that turn blueprints into finished projects. Together, we are advancing a major overhaul of our state's vast network of water infrastructure systems that safeguard the environment and protect drinking water sources millions of New Yorker's rely on."

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