New York Rural Water : News

November 24, 2014

Applications for Smart Growth Grants

Category: Events, Funding, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:49 AM

Applications Being Accepted for Adirondack and Catskill Smart Growth Implementation Grants:Adirondack Park and Catskill Park communities and organizations can now apply for $800,000 in Environmental Protection Fund grants for smart growth projects. $400,000 is dedicated to each of the Parks. Grants will support implementation of key projects, actions and strategies identified in local plans developed by Park communities in pursuit of smart growth. Eligible project activities include, but are not limited to: improvement of community water or sanitation infrastructure; and watershed management, protection of stream corridors and stormwater management with green infrastructure.

To view the two separate official Requests for Application and to apply, visit the NYS Grants Gateway. The deadline for both applications is 2:00 PM, January 30, 2015.

Water Sampling Could Confirm Toxic Concerns

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:43 AM

Two Ithaca-based scientists are paddling from Cayuga Lake to Albany, testing water for plastics pollution from microbeads.

Christian Shaw and Gordon Middleton, who attended Cornell, have formed Plastic Tides, a not-for-profit aimed at raising awareness of water pollution.  We caught up with them on the Clyde River, just after they’d gone under the Thruway bridge at Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.

“The beads act as a sponge for chemicals,’ says Middleton, ‘thus concentrating them in a little carrier, a bead. Some fish eats the bead, you catch the fish and next thing you know, you’re eating a toxic chemical.”

The beads can come from plastic bottles–tossed as trash–which break up and degrade when buffeted by water.  And, of more concern, microfiber beads are part of some consumer products, including facial scrubs, shampoos and soaps, toothpaste, eyeliners, lip gloss, even deodorant.  These products are designed to be washed down a drain, and many wastewater treatment plants cannot ‘catch’ the tiny beads (about the size of a printed period), so they end up in the water systems where they float, and may be ingested by waterfowl or fish, putting them into the food chain.

The Plastic Tides team collected water samples and footage of plastic pollution in the Atlantic this past summer, in a ten-day trip around Bermuda.    Now, they’re working closer to home.  “The science is there for the Great Lakes,” says Shaw (sampling has confirmed microbeads in Lakes Superior, Huron and Erie). “But going thru the heart of Upstate New York and showing people this is your back yard…are you going to let these companies keep polluting your back yard like this?”

The water samples the team is collecting will be analyzed at a lab at SUNY Fredonia.  It’s expected there will be a legislative push in New York in 2015, to ban companies from using microbeads (suggested alternatives include apricot shells and cocoa beans, which degrade).

The team hopes to reach Albany by the middle of next week (that’s also when the canal locks close for the season) and in addition to water sampling, they’re also raising awareness of microbeads through social media campaigns (solar panels on their paddleboards help in recharging phones and cameras).

November 21, 2014

Guidance on Ebola for Workers handling Untreated Sewage

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 3:10 PM

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its “Interim Guidance for Managers and Workers Handling Untreated Sewage from Individuals with Ebola in the United States.” This interim guidance is intended for workers who handle untreated sewage that comes from hospitals, medical facilities, and other facilities with confirmed individuals with Ebola. It provides recommendations on the types of personal protective equipment (PPE) to be used and proper hygiene for the safe handling of untreated sewage that may contain Ebola virus. The CDC indicates the interim guidance can be used to reduce the workers’ risk of exposure to infectious agents including Ebola virus when working with untreated sewage.

Key Points:

Ebola virus is more fragile than many enteric viruses that cause diarrheal disease or hepatitis.

  • The envelope that covers Ebola makes it more susceptible to environmental stresses and to chemical germicides than non-enveloped viruses, such as hepatitis A, poliovirus, and norovirus.
  • Use PPE to protect broken skin and mucous membranes and properly use the PPE, including how to put it on and take it off.
  • Develop and fully implement routine protocols that ensure workers are protected against potential exposures (i.e., prevent contact with broken skin, eyes, nose or mouth) when handling untreated sewage.
  • Ensure all workers always practice good personal hygiene, including frequent hand washing to reduce potential exposures to any of the pathogens in sewage.

Enviro Lawyers assert ‘rights of nature’ in PA wastewater suit

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:08 AM

itEllen M. Gilmer, E&E reporter

Published: Thursday, November 20, 2014

A federal court battle over a Pennsylvania township’s ban on wastewater injection wells took an unusual turn this week as environmental lawyers filed a motion to intervene on behalf of, well, the environment.

The district court filing comes after Pennsylvania General Energy Co. sued Grant Township — east of Pittsburgh in Indiana County — for banning disposal of oil and gas wastewater within township borders. Drilling company PGE had applied to convert an existing oil and gas well to a wastewater disposal well in the township, but its U.S. EPA permit was challenged and remains under review within the agency.

“This lawsuit, brought by the gas industry to overturn a democratically enacted law, threatens the rights of both human and natural communities,” Thomas Linzey, executive director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, said in a statement. “This represents the first time an ecosystem is seeking to defend its legally enforceable rights to exist and flourish by intervening in a lawsuit.”

The motion names the Little Mahoning Watershed as a natural community with legal standing under Grant Township’s Community Bill of Rights. The watershed is joined by a more traditional party, the East Run Hellbenders Society, a grass-roots group of local environmental advocates.

The idea of granting legal rights to nature is novel in the United States. The CELDF has worked with several small communities to adopt “rights of nature” since 2006, but the concept remains untested in courts.

Attorneys for PGE have not yet responded to the filing but maintain in legal briefs that the wastewater ban is discriminatory and that the township lacks authority to control activities regulated by state and federal agencies.

November 20, 2014

WaterSMART Water and Energy Efficiency Grants for FY 2015

Category: Funding, General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 12:03 PM

Agency: U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Policy and Administration

Due: January 14, 2015

Award Date: June 2015

Eligible Applicants:

·         States

·         Indian Tribes

·         Irrigation Districts

·         Other organizations with water or power delivery authority located in the western United States or United States Territories as identified in the Reclamation Act of June 17, 1902, as amended

Cost Share: At least 50% (may include in-kind donations)

Grant Objective:

The objective of this Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) is for applicants to leverage their money and resources by cost sharing with the Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) on projects that seek to:

·         Conserve and use water more efficiently

·         Increase the use of renewable energy

·         Improve energy efficiency

·         Benefit endangered and threatened species

·         Facilitate water markets, or carry out other activities to address climate-related impacts on water or prevent any water-related crisis or conflict

·         Through this FOA, Reclamation also makes funding available for water management improvements that complement other ongoing efforts to address water supply sustainability

Available Funds and Funding Groups:

There is a total of $19 million available through this FOA. Multiple applications may be submitted for consideration if they are each under a different funding group (see funding group descriptions below).  However, no more than $1,000,000 will be awarded to any one applicant under this FOA.

Funding Group I: Up to $300,000 will be available for smaller, on-the-ground projects.

·         Should be completed within 2 years, by September 30, 2017

·         Funds will be awarded no later than September 30, 2015

·         A majority of awards will be made under Funding Group I

Funding Group II: Up to $1,000,000 will be available for larger, phased on-the-ground projects that may take up to 3 years to complete.

·         Will be funded on an annual basis, for a period of up to 3 years.  Funding group II projects must be completed by September 30, 2018.

·         No more than $500,000 in Federal funds will be provided within a given Federal fiscal year to complete each phase of a project selected in FY 2015, with a maximum of $1,000,000 available for the entire project.

·         Each phase of the project is expected to be substantially completed within one year of award. Recipients must demonstrate sufficient progress to receive subsequent funding for remaining phases of the project.

·         Federal funding under this FOA for the first year of phased projects will be awarded no later than September 30, 2015. Funding for the remaining project years will be made available contingent on subsequent congressional appropriations. (Note: recipients will not be asked to reapply to receive FY 2016 and FY 2017 funding).

·         Only a small number of awards will be made for projects in Funding Group II

Eligible Projects:

Task A – Water Conservation

·         Canal Lining/Piping

·         Municipal Metering

·         Irrigation Flow Measurement

·         SCADA and Automation

·         Groundwater Recharge

·         Landscape Irrigation Measures

·         High-Efficiency Indoor Appliances and Fixtures

Task B – Energy-Water Nexus

·         Installing small-scale hydroelectric, solar-electric, wind energy, geothermal power systems, or other facilities that enable use of these or other renewable energy sources (e.g., replacing fossil fuel powered pumps with renewable energy based pumps, installing low-head hydrokinetic power generation units in a water system)

·         Producing and using biomass or renewable fuels (including woody and herbaceous crops and residues, solid waste, sewage, and liquid fuels from agricultural products) (e.g., using technology that would transform algae into a renewable oil source)

·         Retrofitting or modernizing water management facilities or equipment to increase energy efficiency (e.g., installing Variable Frequency Drives, Advanced Meter Readings, or “smart grid” technology on pump and water systems)

·         Quantifiably reducing energy consumption through water conservation projects that reduce pumping or diversions

Task C – Benefits to Endangered Species

·         Improving habitat, including restoring habitat, making additional water available, and managing vegetation

·         Installing fish bypasses and fish screens as well as improving hatcheries

Task D – Water Markets

·         Projects that develop a water market that would provide a mechanism for willing participants to buy, sell, lease, or exchange water to avoid or reduce water conflicts

Ineligible Projects

·         Projects not specifically described in the bullet points above

·         Water purchases

·         Title XVI water recycling and reuse programs.  However, small-scale improvements relating to an existing water recycling facility may be considered eligible for funding

·         Building Construction

·         Pilot Projects

·         Operations, Maintenance, and Replacement Projects, for example:

o Replacing malfunctioning components of an existing facility with the same components

o Improving an existing facility to operate as originally designed

o Performing an activity on a recurring basis, even if that period is extended (e.g., 10-year interval)

o Sealing expansion joints of concrete lining because the original sealer or the water stops have failed

o Replacing broken meters with new meters of the same type

o Replacing leaky pipes with new pipes of the same type

Projects Must:

·         Comply with NEPA, and other applicable environmental laws

·         Have an official resolution and necessary permits upon submission of the grant application

·         Propose a method of quantifying the actual benefits of the project once it is completed

·         If cost sharing will be provided by entities other than the applicant, letters of commitment must be obtained


·         Specific reporting terms will be included in the financial assistance agreement, but will include semi-annual progress reports and a final report.

To learn more about WaterSMART Water & Energy Efficiency Grants, please visit

November 18, 2014

Dunkirk Training Session Canceled Due to Weather

Category: Events, General — New York Rural Water @ 4:40 PM

NYRWA regrets the need to cancel the scheduled Dunkirk Training Session scheduled for Thursday, November 20, 2014, due to weather predictions for additional snow.  Our office staff are calling all registered attendees to inform them of this cancellation and we plan to reschedule this session in the Spring 2015.  We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.  All of those paid registrations will be promptly reimbursed.  Thank you for your cooperation and please stay safe out on the roads.

November 14, 2014

Gov Cuomo Announces $13.6 Million for Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant Storm Resiliency Project

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 11:50 AM

Suffolk County Project is the First to Receive Funding under New York State’s Storm Mitigation Loan Program

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Suffolk County will receive the first loan from New York State’s Storm Mitigation Loan Program for $13.6 million in wastewater and storm resiliency improvements at the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant in Suffolk County. The loan is made up of a $3.2 million grant and $10.4 million in no-interest financing for Suffolk County, which was approved today by the Environmental Facilities Corporation’s Board of Directors.

“Superstorm Sandy showed us the importance of proactively strengthening our infrastructure so it is more resilient to extreme weather,” Governor Cuomo said. “This loan is the latest in a series of actions taken by New York State to help Long Island strengthen its coastal resiliency against future storms and will enable Suffolk County to improve its wastewater and storm water infrastructure. It is one more way that New York is building back better.”

“Governor Cuomo created the Storm Mitigation Loan Program to assist local governments in strengthening long-term resilience for wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities in areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy,” said Matthew J. Driscoll, President and CEO of the Environmental Facilities Corporation. “EFC remains committed to working with our municipal leaders in Suffolk County and throughout New York State to protect public health and the environment while fortifying our water-quality systems to withstand effects from future storms.”

The $13.6 million package will fund improvements to Suffolk County’s Bergen Point wastewater treatment plant outfall pumping system. Upgrades include replacing three pumping units and installing a new fourth pump as well as new electrical controls, mechanism systems, and discharge piping. The project will expand treatment capacity and improve operational efficiency at the wastewater treatment plant, while also strengthening and protecting its infrastructure from future flooding and other natural disasters.

The total cost of the project is $14.5 million dollars, funded by the state’s $13.6 million package, $1.3 million from Suffolk County bonds and $510,000 in municipal contributions. Construction of the project is expected to begin this year.

The Environmental Facilities Corporation’s package complements Governor Cuomo’s recent announcement of the expansion of the Bergen Point sewer system to serve thousands more homes and businesses under a $383 million state financing plan. The purpose of the expansion is to replace current septic systems with new sewer systems, thereby reducing nitrogen pollution eroding Long Island’s coastline. It will also help create a natural barrier to storm surges and flooding.

In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, funding for storm mitigation projects in New York and New Jersey was authorized by the federal Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013. Federal funding was allocated based on population sizes of disaster-declared counties. New York received $340 million, or 59.7 percent of the funds, for flood-mitigation projects at wastewater facilities and drinking water plants.

New York State’s Storm Mitigation Loan Program provides a total of $408 million in aid administered by the Environmental Facilities Corporation, along with the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health. Storm Mitigation Loan Program funding is available as a 25 percent grant and 75 percent zero-interest loan. Wastewater and drinking water facilities impacted by Superstorm Sandy in 14 New York State counties are eligible for the program’s funding, including Bronx, Greene, King, Nassau, New York, Orange, Putnam, Queens, Richmond, Rockland, Suffolk, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester counties.

Environmental Facilities Corporation provides low-cost loans to help local governments afford major improvements to wastewater and drinking water infrastructure. EFC manages the largest State Revolving Funds in the nation for clean water and drinking water projects, providing more than $17 billion in low-cost financing and grants to local governments since 1990. This year marks the 25th anniversary of New York’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. This year alone, EFC has approved the financing of more than $2 billion in water-quality infrastructure and improvements.

Senator Charles E. Schumer said, “Superstorm Sandy’s devastation taught us that New York must rebuild in a stronger, more resilient way so that we are not as vulnerable to future storms. Upgrading the Bergen Point wastewater treatment plant outfall pumping system will help make Suffolk County stronger by mitigating future flooding as well as protecting the water quality in the Great South Bay. I am pleased that EFC has prioritized and approved a loan for this important project; it is just the type of mitigation project we had in mind when crafting the Sandy Relief Bill.”

Congressman Tim Bishop said, “Upgrading infrastructure is a critical step in minimizing the potential damage from future storms. The more resilient our systems, the more likely they are to remain online or be able to be brought back online quickly. I am glad that Governor Cuomo is continuing to find ways to leverage federal assistance to ensure the completion of such projects.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, “Storm resiliency is vital in protecting our infrastructure from future storms. I thank Governor Cuomo for once again delivering on his commitment to rebuilding and making communities stronger than ever.”

November 10, 2014

Governor Cuomo Announces Strategic Fuel Reserve in Upstate New York to Help Prepare for Future Severe Storms, Possible Fuel Emergencies

Category: Events, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:25 AM

Strategic Fuel Reserves in Rensselaer, Brewerton, Rochester, Marcy, Vestal and Buffalo will Ensure Availability of Gasoline and Diesel Fuels to First Responders if Supply is Disrupted

October 29, 2014

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the establishment of a strategic fuel reserve at six key locations in Upstate New York to help ensure that gasoline and diesel fuels are available to emergency responders in the event of an emergency, including future severe storms. The reserve terminals are positioned to rapidly provide service to all areas of Upstate New York in the event of a declared emergency. Establishing an Upstate fuel reserve is a key component of Fuel NY, the Governor’s statewide fuel infrastructure protection initiative developed in direct response to disruptions caused by Superstorm Sandy.

“The strategic Upstate fuel reserve will enable emergency responders to continue their vitally important jobs, even in the event of a prolonged disaster, and addresses vulnerabilities discovered in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy,” Governor Cuomo said. “This addition to New York’s fuel infrastructure plan makes it the strongest of any state in the nation, and is one more way that we are building back better.”

Approximately 2.5 million gallons of gasoline and ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel will be housed in the strategic fuel reserve, and will be supplied to first responders during a declared emergency in the event that their own fuel supplies are disrupted. The six key reserve terminals that will provide service to all of Upstate New York are located in:

·                    Rensselaer

·                    Brewerton

·                    Rochester

·                    Marcy

·                    Vestal

·                    Buffalo

The Upstate Strategic Fuel Reserve Program is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority with $10 million in funding provided by the New York Power Authority. The fuel is owned by New York State, and the reserves are managed by Buckeye Terminals, LLC. Suppliers will be able to pre-register with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to facilitate distribution of fuel upon declaration of an emergency and release of the strategic fuel reserve in their region.

Fuel NY is the nation’s strongest program for meeting the backup electricity requirements of gas stations to be better prepared for a declared emergency. Today, more than half of all gas stations in New York City, Long Island and Westchester and Rockland Counties are required to have back-up power in the event of an emergency. Additionally, Fuel NY has established the first-in-the-nation State Strategic Gasoline Reserve on Long Island. More information about Fuel NY is available at

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority President and CEO John B. Rhodes said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, New York State is developing a resilient and reliable energy infrastructure, and the Upstate Strategic Fuel Reserve Program is an important piece of that solution. This reserve will ensure that critical first responders like police, ambulance, fire department, and other emergency personnel have fuel to assist New Yorkers and aide in the recovery efforts during severe weather events.”

New York Power Authority President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones said, “The Upstate Strategic Fuel Reserve will provide the New York Power Authority, other utilities in the state and first responders with added assurance that their transmission and repair crews will have the necessary fuel supplies for their bucket trucks and other vehicles for restoring power after major storms. The fuel reserve is a vital emergency-preparedness initiative for lessening the disruptive impacts of future storms.”

Buckeye Partners, L.P. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Clark C. Smith said, “Buckeye is pleased to be partnering with the State of New York to provide a strategic refined petroleum products reserve for the Upstate New York markets. Buckeye’s success in quickly and safely re-starting operations after the Superstorm Sandy landfall in 2012 demonstrated our commitment to minimizing disruptions in the markets we supply. Buckeye is very proud to be a part of the storage and distribution option for first responders should there be another emergency event in the future.”

November 7, 2014

SPRTK Update – NY Alert Applications Due by December 1, 2014

Category: General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 9:11 AM
NYSDEC recently mailed out NY-Alert applications and notifier agreements to all POTW’s. In an effort to make a smooth transition into the NY-Alert system for reporting overflows, NYSDEC is requesting the applications and agreements be filled out, signed and submitted by December 1st, 2014. Even if you have never had to report an overflow, you are still required to submit the application and agreement. If you, as an operator, have not yet seen these documents, please go to your offices and talk with your mayor or town supervisor and get them filled out and submitted soon. If you have any questions please call Steve Grimm at (518) 929-0987.

SPRTK Update – NY-Alert applications due by December 1, 2014.NYSDEC recently mailed out NY-Alert applications and notifier agreements to all POTW’s. In an effort to make a smooth transition into the NY-Alert system for reporting overflows, NYSDEC is requesting the applications and agreements be filled out, signed and submitted by December 1st, 2014. Even if you have never had to report an overflow, you are still required to submit the application and agreement. If you, as an operator, have not yet seen these documents, please go to your offices and talk with your mayor or town supervisor and get them filled out and submitted soon. If you have any questions please call Steve Grimm at (518) 929-0987.

November 5, 2014

A Long Time Friend and Member Remembered Harry Balz from ALHA Community

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 12:54 PM

It is with deep sadness that we inform you that our long time member and friend from the Adirondack Lodges Homeowners Association Harry Balz passed away earlier today, November 5, 2014, following a brief hospitalization.  Harry was always present at our Annual Conference and training events with a warm smile, kind words and very supportive of this organization and the industry.  Our deepest sympathies to Harry’s wife Elaine and the other members of their family.

Harry was not only an active member of the ALHA Community, but he was very involved with other organizations in the North Country.  Harry served as the Chairman of the Town of Horicon Planning Board and Clerk of “The Works” on several Horicon building projects. He donated his time and expertise to the North Warren Central School as “District Facilities Consultant.” He was also a volunteer fireman.  Harry was a member of the Washington, Saratoga, Warren, Hamilton and Essex Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES).  In addition to the BOCES Board, he also served on the North Warren Central School Board.  His many contributions the ALHA Community included overseeing the refurbishment of the plaza at the beach front, his perseverance to successfully bring the boat channel dredging projection to fruition, and the construction of several garage buildings on the campus.  Prior to relocating to Adirondack, Harry worked in construction for 45 years, the last 25 of which were spent as Vice President and Chief Engineer of a major Long Island based contractor, Guy Pratt, Inc.

Harry will be greatly missed by his family, friends, the ALHA community and Rural Water.

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