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Water News

Water News - Weekly Digest

Week of July 14, 2017

 

 

New York State DEC

$25,000 Grants Will Protect New York's Great Lakes and Drive Economic Development

Ithaca, NY. New York Sea Grant and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the availability of up to $200,000 in grants for Great Lakes resilience projects. Up to $25,000 per project is available from the New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program administered by New York Sea Grant in partnership with DEC.

Eligible projects must use a complete ecosystem-based approach rather than a single issue or single species focus, incorporate stakeholder participation, and address key priorities in the New York Great Lakes Action Agenda to enhance community resiliency and ecosystem integrity through restoration, protection, and improved resource management. Stated goals include conserving and restoring native fish and wildlife biodiversity and habitats to achieve and sustain resilient ecosystems and vibrant economies.

"These grants will support projects that will protect our environment and strengthen the economy of New York's Great Lakes Basin. Governor Cuomo's historic investments in the Environmental Protection Fund are safeguarding New York's unmatched natural resources for future generations while driving economic development in Great Lakes communities. While there is uncertainty regarding the federal government's commitment to the Great Lakes, New York's commitment has never been stronger," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.

"This small grants program supports local stakeholder-driven projects that apply holistic approaches to meet pressing problems and opportunities for protecting our natural resources, environmental quality, and economic development," said New York Sea Grant Associate Director and Cornell University Cooperative Extension Assistant Director Katherine Bunting-Howarth, Ithaca, NY.

Not-for-profit organizations, county and local government or public agencies, municipalities, regional planning and environmental commissions, and educational institutions, including, but not limited to, public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are eligible to apply.

New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program application instructions are online. Webinars to help applicants will be available on July 19 and August 16. Proposals must be submitted by September 22, 2017. For more information and webinar registration, contact New York Sea Grant at 315-312-3042.

The New York Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program is funded through the New York State Environmental Protection Fund and Article 14 of Environmental Conservation Law.

Media Contacts:

DEC Seeks Input on Draft Onondaga Unit Management Plan

Open House Scheduled for August 10, 2017

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is requesting public input on a draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Onondaga Unit. Located in Central New York, the Onondaga Unit includes Camillus Forest and Split Rock Unique areas, covering approximately 384 acres in Onondaga County. The UMP will update the previously published Camillus Forest Unique Area UMP, adding the 34-acre Split Rock Unique Area.

Camillus Forest Unique Area is located in the town of Camillus and currently has more than five miles of designated hiking trails that provide access to 40 acres of sugar maple and beech old forest. Split Rock Unique Area is located on the boundary of the towns of Camillus and Onondaga. This small area includes a steep limestone bank with a population of American Hart's Tongue fern, a state and federally listed endangered plant monitored by DEC in collaboration with the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.

Unit Management plans assess the natural, physical, social, and recreational resources of the landscape and provide a solid foundation for the development of long-term land management goals, objectives, and actions. The public is encouraged to share ideas about the UMP development during the comment period, which runs from August 10 to October 10, 2017.

The public can share feedback on the plans by:

1. Attending an open house on Thursday, August 10, 2017 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at:

Camillus Town Hall
4600 West Genesee Street
Syracuse, NY 13219

DEC Forestry staff will provide a brief presentation on the UMP process, background on the unit, and review the wildlife habitat and recreational improvements that have been successfully implemented over the last 10 years. After the presentation, DEC Forestry staff be available to meet and receive comments or ideas;

2. Mailing written comments/ideas by October 10, 2017 for the draft UMP to:

NYS DEC
Division of Lands and Forests
Attn: Onondaga UMP
1285 Fisher Avenue
Cortland, NY 13045

3. Emailing comments/ideas by October 10, 2017 to R7.UMP@dec.ny.gov; or

4. Calling Senior Forester Matt Swayze at (607) 753-3095 ext. 220 to leave comments by October 10, 2017.

Additional information about Camillus Unique Area is available on DEC's website. The current Camillus Forest Unique Area Unit Management Plan is also available on DEC's website.

 

Eastern Lake Ontario Unit Management Plan (UMP) Draft available for review

Lands included in the Eastern Lake Ontario Unit are Altmar, Chateaugay, Sandy Creek, and Trout Brook State Forests along with Conservation Easement lands along the Salmon River. The unit also includes lands from a recent acquisition with National Grid Power Company. The size of the unit is 6,126 acres of state lands within the Oswego County towns of Albion, Boylston, Orwell, Richland, and Sandy Creek. The Draft UMP addresses management activities on these state forests.

DEC's policy is to manage state lands for multiple benefits to serve the people of New York State. The proposed UMP will help maintain healthy, sustainable and biologically diverse ecosystems for fish and wildlife while providing continued opportunities for forest product sales, recreational use, and environmental education.

The state lands covered by the proposed plan offer many recreational opportunities including: nature observation, fishing, hunting, trapping, snowmobiling, camping, and all-terrain vehicle (ATV) access for people with mobility impairments (a permit is required). New or major changes to existing recreational facilities and opportunities proposed in the plan include:

  • Potential approval of a one mile ATV connector trail on Chateaugay State Forest;
  • Development of a new snowmobile trail on Chateaugay State Forest;
  • Creation of a foot trail leading from the Salmon River Falls to Dam Road; and
  • Enhancement of wildlife-related recreation opportunities by using active and passive forest management strategies to provide a diversity of wildlife habitats.

The UMP also contains proposed maintenance projects for roads and boundary lines. In addition, a detailed schedule of other activities such as natural resource inventories, forest product sales, planned acquisitions, and survey requests are included in the UMP.

 

DEC Awards Nearly $1 Million in Grants to Restore Chesapeake Bay Watershed

Funding to Restore Riparian Buffer and Protect Water Quality

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today awarded three grants totaling nearly $1 million for programs in New York's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEC's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program administers the grants.

"Riparian buffers are critical to New York's continued effort to reduce nutrients and sediment in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. New York, along with six other jurisdictions, are working together to restore the Chesapeake Bay," said DEC Commissioner Seggos. "Riparian buffers have the added benefit of reducing flood impacts, creating wildlife habitat, and providing shade to streams. These land acquisitions and conservation easements will permanently protect these riparian areas and help improve and sustain water quality and habitat."

The grants are for projects to permanently protect riparian buffers through land acquisition and conservation easements. Riparian buffers are strips of trees, shrubs or grasses planted next to streams or other waterbodies. By planting vegetation along streams, space is created between the water and upland land uses, helping to protect the water quality and stream habitat by reducing the amount of nitrogen, phosphorous, and sediment entering the Chesapeake Bay.

Grants are being awarded to:

Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District, $669,620

The Upper Susquehanna Coalition (USC) via the Tioga County Soil and Water Conservation District will implement a restoration program composed of multiple riparian buffer and streambank stabilization projects. Projects will restore approximately 80 acres of riparian buffer and 350 linear feet of streambank along Mud Creek in Birdseye Hollow State Forest and in the Lower Butternut Creek watershed in Otsego County.

Edward L. Rose Conservancy, $199,032

The Edward L. Rose Conservancy will implement a protection and restoration program to establish perpetual conservation easements on 28 acres of riparian buffers in Broome and Tioga counties. Restoration work will be completed through a partnership with Trout Unlimited.

Finger Lakes Land Trust, $124,212

The Finger Lakes Land Trust will implement a protection program to permanently protect 69 acres of existing riparian buffer habitat in the Susquehanna watershed using a combination of fee simple land acquisition and perpetual conservation easements.

New York's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed is made up of the Susquehanna River watershed and Chemung River watershed. Together these two watersheds form the northern headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay and cover much of New York's Southern Tier.

Excess nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) and sediment from all over the Chesapeake Bay watershed degrade the bay's water quality. The main nutrient sources are sewage, cattle manure, inorganic fertilizer, and atmospheric nitrogen deposition. Most of the sediment comes from agriculture, stream bank erosion, and construction. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) to address the water quality problems in the Chesapeake Bay caused by excess nutrients and sediment. A Total Maximum Daily Load defines the capacity of a waterbody to absorb a pollutant and still meet water quality standards. The Chesapeake Bay TMDL sets limits on the amount of nutrients and sediment that can enter the Bay. Because nutrients and sediment in the bay come from all over the watershed, six states and Washington, D.C. are working to meet the goals outlined in the TMDL.

For more information on DEC's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program, please visit DEC's website.

 

News Alerts

Beware the Blooms: Toxic Algae Found in some City Ponds

New York Sea Grant, DEC Announces $200,000 for Great Lakes Resilience Project grants

How a Rust Belt Town Goes Coal Free

Harmful Algal Blooms Discovered on Chautauqua Lake

These ponds filled with algae might be the key to saving the world's fisheries

Harmful Algal Blooms found in Several WNY Lakes

Sylvan Beach Back Open Today After Positive Test for Blue-Green Algae

Drones Head to Lake Ontario to Help Scientists Monitor Water Levels

Two Milestones on the Road to Smarter Water Use

Fracking Waste Contaminates Penn. Watershed with Radioactive Material

Blue-Green Algae Found on Honeoye Lake; Beach Closed

Algae Bloom Concerns: Survey of Lake Erie Shows it Could Keep Some out of the Water

Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy to Host Presentation on Lake Algae

Town of Plattsburgh Kicks off Infrastructure Project

Letter: State Handling Owasco Flats Correctly?

Honeoye Falls Part of State Sewer Plan Pilot Program

Emefcy (ASX:EMC) and RWL Water Merge to Create Fluence, a Full-Service Distributed Water Solutions Corporation

 

And for a fun one: 'Eelevator' helps young eels migrate in Hudson River tributary

 

News

Fall/Winter Training sessions

September 06, 2017

 

Openings in most locations for the fall/winter training sessions and it's not too early to reserve your seat! Call with any questions: 315-455-2614, ext. 2

 

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Attn: Water Utilities!!

August 01, 2017

 

EWG has released their public database cataloguing contaminants in water systems for every state. These stats are extremely misleading. The NYSAWWA Water Utility Council and Public Affairs Council are here to support your utilities if you need help with any questions you receive about this database! Call us today at 315-455-2614 or email jenny@nysawwa.org

Here is a link to the report - https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/search-results.php?zip5=10001&searchtype=zip#.WYDMfITyvDC 

Report: Public Drinking Water Needs More Protection

June 26, 2017

 

Incidents of contamination in our public water supplies in recent years have reminded us that strong regulatory oversight is essential to assure the quality and safety of our water. Yet, the current federal-state regulatory structure can leave significant gaps in protections for New Yorkers.

With the President's proposed budget, which would cut the EPA budget by nearly one-third, and the EPA’s reluctance to set standards for certain contaminants with harmful health effects, states and localities have to take the lead in strengthening safeguards for public water supplies and improve our response to contamination. 

 

This week, my office released a report which recommends that State policy makers work toward meeting that challenge by: 
•    Creating a statewide response plan, with public input, to effectively address drinking water contamination incidents;
•    Creating a statewide program that would proactively monitor the health of residents exposed to drinking water contaminants;
•    Applying a more precautionary approach for contaminants that are unregulated at the federal level; and
•    Broadening the scope of review when identifying emerging contaminants.

 

The report also recommends that the State and localities fully inform the public of the potential health impacts of water contaminants. New Yorkers support their public water systems through taxes and fees, and expect clean, safe water when they turn on the tap. While both the State and federal governments have done much to ensure that result, further efforts are essential. 

 

Read the report here: http://osc.state.ny.us/reports/environmental/drinking-water-contaminants.pdf 

 

If you have questions, contact Robert Ward, Deputy Comptroller for the Office of Budget and Policy Analysis, at 518-473-4333. 

 

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American Public Works Association New York Chapter - Now Hiring

June 01, 2017

 

American Public Works Association New York Chapter - Now Hiring

Position is for the NEW YORK CHAPTER of the American Public Works Association, a not-for-profit corporation. The Chapter is an educational association and in the conduct of said business desires to have certain administrative services performed by an Administrator. 

 

Click here for the full job description. 

Legislative Update - Drinking Water Highlights from the recently passed 2018 New York State Budget

April 11, 2017

 

The $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act for drinking water, wastewater and storm water projects was a bright spot in the budget. We certainly appreciate the funding and support. It is absolutely a step in the right direction. However, with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) projecting a $40 billion investment need over the next 20 years for drinking water infrastructure alone (not including new treatment for emerging contaminants), this type of funding must be continuous for each fiscal year and expanded. Right now the details for the funding administration are pending. The first step is to obtain legislative authorization which has been completed. The actual implementation will probably lag by 6 to 12 months.  EFC will most likely develop the application process for the bulk of the funding. We will continue to monitor the process and communicate to our members as this moves along. A complete breakdown of the clean act funding as defined in the legislation is provided in the link.

 

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NYS Governor Signed the Cybersecurity Bill on December 31, 2016

January 03, 2017

 

S7601 - SUMMARY

Provides for enhanced protection of water supplies from and emergency planning for terrorism and cyber terrorism attacks.

 

Download bill text PDF. 

 

APPROVAL MEMORANDUM ‐ No. 32 Chapter 6

 

MEMORANDUM filed with Senate Bill Number 7601, entitled: "AN ACT to amend the executive law, the public health law and the environmental conservation law, in relation to protection of water supplies"


APPROVED
Current law requires any water supplier who owns or operates a community water system that supplies drinking water to more than 3,300 people to prepare an emergency plan, including an analysis of vulnerability to terrorist attack, and to submit such emergency plan to the Department of Health. This bill would now require these water suppliers to amend their vulnerability assessments to include an analysis of potential cyber‐attacks and their impact on the water supply.

 

I fully support the intent of this bill. As drafted, however, this bill contains technical flaws that would make it extremely challenging to implement effectively. In order to ensure full compliance by water suppliers and to safeguard their vulnerability assessments, the Executive has secured a three‐way agreement with the Legislature to pass legislation in the upcoming session to address these issues. On that basis, I am signing this bill.


This bill is approved.

 

(signed) ANDREW M. CUOMO

 

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AWWA Water Utility Energy Challenge - new Great Lakes competition

December 13, 2016

 

AWWA and our partners received grant funds through the Great Lakes Protection Fund to develop and administer the WATER UTILITY ENERGY CHALLENGE (WUEC) to reduce energy related pollution emissions (focus on mercury) in water distribution systems. Our team is offering utilities two FREE tools to track emissions and optimize pumping systems. During the Trial Period (Dec 2016-Feb 2017), utilities can use the tools without obligation within their system before applying to be a competitor. We are working to recruit utilities and have them REGISTER for the Trial Period to check out the tools. The competition is scheduled for Apr 2017-Mar 2018, and we expect to have 6-8 utilities compete. First prize is $20,000 and second prize is $10,000.

 

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Technical Advisory - Laboratory Analysis of Drinking Water Samples for Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA)

September 28, 2016

 

EPA has recently learned that laboratories have identified different approaches for implementation of EPA Method 537 Rev 1.1 (“Method 537”) for analysis of PFOA.

 

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Understanding Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins

August 29, 2016

 

Take a look at this great video the Water Research Foundation made on the science behind cyanobacteria and cyanotoxins and a utility perspective on the latest in source water protection, monitoring, detection, and treatment

 

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Researchers find unsafe levels of industrial chemicals in drinking water of 6 million Americans

August 10, 2016

 

Drinking water supplies serving more than six million Americans contain unsafe levels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked to potentially serious health problems, according to a new study from Harvard University researchers.

The chemicals — known as polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFASs — have been used for decades in a range of industrial and commercial products, including non-stick coatings on pans, food wrappers, water-repellent clothing and firefighting foam. Long-term exposure has been linked to increased risks of kidney cancer, thyroid problems, high cholesterol and hormone disruption, among other issues.

 

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Final Regulation: Part 4 - Protection Against Legionella

July 22, 2016

 

Part 4 of the New York State Sanitary Code Protection Against Legionella, became effective on July 6, 2016, and can be viewed in full at http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/recently_adopted/docs/protection_against_legionella.pdf (beginning on page 11). The regulations were released for public comment on April 20, 2016 and the comments and the Department’s responses can be viewed in the Assessment of Public Comment at the link above, on page 59. The permanent regulations replace the emergency regulations which have been in effect since August 17, 2015.

 

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Monroe County Water Authority Ranked Highest in Northeast for Customer Satisfaction

May 19, 2016

 

J.D. Power contucted a 2016 Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction Study and New York Section AWWA member, Monroe County Water Authority was ranked highest in the Northeast for Customer Satisfaction! 

 

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