New York Rural Water : News

July 6, 2015

Water Infrastructure Grants are Available

Category: Funding,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 8:08 AM


The NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and the NYS Department of Health (DOH) announced that $50 million in water infrastructure grants are now available to local governments for critical water and wastewater infrastructure upgrades. The $50 million in funding is part of $200 million in grants expected through the New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) over the next three state fiscal years to fund municipal wastewater and drinking water infrastructure projects that improve water quality and protect public health.

For State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2015-2016, $30 million in grant funding will be available for clean water (wastewater) projects and $20 million for drinking water projects. Funds will be administered by EFC and DOH.

Complete applications must be submitted to no later than the close of business on Friday, September 4, 2015.

For more information and to apply, visit

June 30, 2015

New York State Officially Prohibits High-Volume Hydraulic Fracturing

Category: Achievements,Events,General,Hydrofracking,Legislative,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 8:24 AM

DEC Issues Findings Statement Concluding Extensive Seven-Year Review

The state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today officially prohibited high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) in New York State by issuing its formal Findings Statement, completing the state’s seven-year review of this activity.

“After years of exhaustive research and examination of the science and facts, prohibiting high-volume hydraulic fracturing is the only reasonable alternative,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “High-volume hydraulic fracturing poses significant adverse impacts to land, air, water, natural resources and potential significant public health impacts that cannot be adequately mitigated. This decision is consistent with DEC’s mission to conserve, improve and protect our state’s natural resources, and to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state.”

The Findings Statement concludes that there are no feasible or prudent alternatives that adequately avoid or minimize adverse environmental impacts and address risks to public health from this activity.

DEC based the Findings Statement on the vast research included in the Final Supplemental Generic Environmental Impact Statement (FSGEIS) released last month. The FSGEIS included consideration of extensive public comment and the state Department of Health’s Public Health Review, which concluded there is considerable uncertainty as to potential health impacts from HVHF and that HVHF should not move forward in New York State.

The Findings Statement is the culmination of the environmental review process to fully evaluate the environmental impacts of this activity. The Findings Statement details the widespread potential impacts from the HVHF process, including impacts to water and air resources, ecosystems and wildlife, community character and public health.

For a copy of the Findings Statement, visit DEC’s website.

June 26, 2015

Problematic Storm Water

Category: Achievements,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 3:06 PM

I just read a most interesting article share by Molly Reed, our Training Specialist about a new playground in the city that soaks up it’s storm water.  Much planning, design and construction went into this project to build a playground on a public school complex of which this area continuously flooded with every heavy rainfall.  This $1 million playground renovation was undertaken by the Trust for Public Land and the city’s Department of Environmental Protection, a partnership to turn 40 asphalt covered play space into weapons against water pollution, very interesting concept, wouldn’t you say.

The goal was to capture between 500,000 and 700,000 gallons of storm water per year.  This would divert rain water from the city’s treatment plants which is an important part of an emerging network of green infrastructure.  Nearly 30 billion gallons of raw sewage and polluted storm water are discharged into local waterways each year when sewage plants are overwhelmed.  These overflows can be triggered up to 75 times a year, according to environmental groups and they report these to be the biggest water quality challenge in the New York area, preventing rivers and bays from meeting federal standards for swimming, fishing and wildlife habitats.

Instead of relying on traditional holding tanks and tunnels, the program uses green roofs, gardens, engineered soils and porous surfaces to capture and retain stormwater runoff, with landscape and gardens.  Now, in addition to the newly planted zelkova and elm trees, the playground’s bioswale is a giant container garden designed to absorb and filter runoff water, measuring 8 by 129 feet, with sandy soil holding sweetbay magnolias, red twig dogwoods and sedges that can handle flooding. Drains in the playground direct the rain water toward the bioswale.

June 16, 2015


Category: Events,General,Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 3:52 PM
Here is a direct link to the DEC page with information on the comment period for the Sewage Pollution Right to Know.

At the bottom of the page is a link to the Regulatory Impact Statement. New York Rural Water urges all operators and elected officials to review and comment on the statement. This will impact every municipal treatment plant and collection system. If you have any questions please contact Steve Grimm at (5180 929-0987.

June 15, 2015

Inside VanLare Wastewater Treatment Plant

Category: General,Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 8:24 AM
Rarely do we think about what happens after we flush. Find out how
Monroe County deals with millions of gallons of sewage daily.  

 Check out
this story on

June 9, 2015

Rural Water Policy Advisory: Hacking of U.S. Water Utility’s Website

Category: Events,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 8:17 AM

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT) has reported the “hacking” of a U.S. water utility’s website by an apparent supporter of the Islamic State using the moniker “Phenomene Dz.”  The main page of the utility’s website was defaced with a message from the hacker. The hack also left inaccessible the website for visitors.  T he message from the hacker states, “We Will Continue (sic) Hacking Your WebSites To Send OUR MESSAGE.”

June 8, 2015

Notice of the Filing of Rulemaking for the Regulations Associated with the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act

Category: Events,General,Legislative,Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 8:29 AM

On June 2, 2015, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) filed with the Secretary of State its Notice of Proposed Rule Making documentation to revise provisions of 6 NYCRR Parts 750 and 621 to implement the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act (SPRTK), Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) § 17-0826-a, which took effect on May 1, 2013. The full text of the Express Terms and full text of the Regulatory Impact Statement for the proposed rulemaking are posted at the NYS DEC website: ;The 45 day public comment period will begin on June 17, 2015.

Brief Description:

The purpose of this proposed rulemaking is to implement the Sewage Pollution Right to Know (SPRTK) Act, ECL §17-0826-a, which is intended to benefit the public health and the environment.

The proposed rule would implement the two hour reporting and four hour notification requirements of SPRTK by publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) as well as publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs). The proposed rule would extend direct regulatory oversight to POSSs, which are not currently regulated through NYS DEC’s SPDES program.

Under the proposed rule, two hour notification would be required to NYS DEC and the New York State Department of Health NYS DOH); the four hour notification would be required to notify the chief elected official of the municipality where the discharge occurred and adjoining municipalities of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges. The general public would also need to be notified of any such discharges to surface water within this same four hour time frame through appropriate electronic media as determined by NYS DEC. POTWs and POSS would need to continue reporting each day after the initial report is made until the discharge terminates.

NYS DEC has determined that some combined sewer overflows (CSOs) cannot be detected by the existing systems and models of POTWs and POSSs. To address this issue, the proposed rule would provide that “[f]or combined sewer overflows for which real-time telemetered discharge monitoring and detection does not exist, owners and operators of POTWs and POSSs shall make reasonable efforts to expeditiously issue advisories through appropriate electronic media to the general public when, based on actual rainfall data and predictive models, enough rain has fallen that combined sewer overflows are likely of enough volume to cause potential health concerns for people who may come in contact with the water.” These advisories may be made on a waterbody basis rather than by individual combined sewer overflow points.
Finally, the proposed rule would obligate owners and operators of POSSs to file five day written incident reports (as currently required for POTWs and other SPDES permittees); properly operate and maintain their facilities; and allow NYS DEC to inspect POSSs and copy records. In addition, owners of POSSs would be required to notify DEC of a change in ownership or operation of the facility.

The proposed rulemaking is scheduled to be published in the State Register on June 17, 2015. Written public comments on these regulations will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on 7/31/2015. In order to make public comment with respect to the proposed rule making, comments must be submitted by e-mail to or by regular mail to:

Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law Comments
NYS DEC – Division of Water
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY, 12233-3500

Public information sessions regarding the proposed regulations will be held during the public comment period at the following locations, dates and times:

Date: July 7, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: NYS DEC – Central Office
625 Broadway
Albany, New York

Date: July 15, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: Monroe Community College (MCC)
Monroe B, Warshof Conference Center
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, New York

Date: July 16, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: SUNY Ulster Community College
Vanderlyn Hall
491 Cottekill Road
Stone Ridge, New York

Date: July 21, 2015
Time: 7:00 p.m.
Location: NYS DEC
207 Genesee Street
Utica, New York

Any oral and written statements made at the public information sessions will not be considered as public comments to the proposed rule making. In order to make public comment to the proposed rule making, comments must be made as specified in this Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Hard copies of the full Express Terms and full Regulatory Impact Statement for proposed rulemaking are posted at the NYS DEC website: and are available from the contact person listed below:

Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law Comments
NYS DEC – Division of Water
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY, 12233-3500
Phone: (518) 402-8233

For more information about this rule making, please contact:

Robert Simson
NYS DEC – Division of Water
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY, 12233-3500
Phone: (518) 402-8233

May 26, 2015

Hinsdale Wins County Water Contest

Category: Events,General,Water — New York Rural Water @ 8:14 AM

The Town of Hinsdale won the 2015 Cattaraugus County Tap Water Taste Contest at the Greater Olean Home and Garden show.  Public Health Director Dr. Kevin Watkins and Director of Environmental Health Eric Wohlers congratulated the town on the win over five other communities.  The public attending the garden show stopped by the booth to sample and compare the five tap water samples and voted for their favorite.  Other municipalities competing were Allegany, Cattaruaugus, Delevan, Olean and Salamanca.

Hinsdale will now represent Cattaraugus County at this year’s Western New York regional competition.  The regional winners then advance to the state finals September 1, 2015, at the Great New York State Fair in Syracuse.  “This annual event serves to highlight the fact that all of our trained and certified water operators work very hard to deliver water of the highest quality to their customers,” Wohlers said.  “We wish the town of Hinsdale success as they advance to the next round of competition”.

If you are interested in competing at your local level, check our website for a full schedule of contests taking place across the state.  Congratulations to Hinsdale and best of luck at the regionals.


May 22, 2015

NYRWA 36th Annual Technical Conference – Huge Success

Category: Events,General — New York Rural Water @ 11:45 AM

To all that participated in our 36th Annual Technical Conference this week at the Turning Stone in Verona, we thank you for your support and hope to see you next year in Lake Placid, NY. We could not have had a successful conference without you. Our exhibitors were amazing this year and the presenters were excellent.  We hope that each of you took something away from this event that will help make your daily jobs a bit easier in providing Quality on Tap to the customers you serve.  May you all enjoy your holiday weekend, please remember those that served and continue to serve our Country, we are truly blessed.

May 14, 2015

You are All Keepers of the Spring and We Thank You For Your Dedication

Category: Achievements,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 2:35 PM

This goes out to all the Water and Wastewater Professionals, you are all the Keepers of our most valuable asset.

Keeper of the Spring

The late Peter Marshall, an eloquent speaker and for several years the chaplain of the United States Senate, used to love to tell the story of “The keeper of the spring,” a quiet forest dweller who lived high above an Austrian village along the eastern slopes of the Alps.

The old gentleman had been hired many years ago by a young town council to clear away the debris from the pools of water up in the mountain crevices that fed the lovely spring flowing through their town. With faithful, silent regularity, he patrolled the hills, removed the leaves and branches, and wiped away the silt that would otherwise choke and contaminate the fresh flow of water.

By and by, the village became a popular attraction for vacationers. Graceful swans floated along the crystal clear spring, the millwheels of various businesses located near the water turned day and night, farmlands were naturally irrigated and the view from restaurants was picturesque beyond description.

Years passed.  One evening the town council met for its semi-annual meeting.  As they reviewed the budget, one man’s eye caught the salary figure being paid to the obscure keeper of the spring.  Said the keeper of the purse, “Who is the old man?  Why do we keep him on year after year?  No one ever sees him.  For all we know the strange ranger of the hills is doing us no good.  He isn’t necessary and longer!”  By a unanimous vote, they dispensed with the old man’s services.

For several weeks nothing changed. By early autumn the trees began to shed their leaves.  Small Branches snapped off and fell in to the pools, hindering the rushing flow of sparkling water.  One afternoon someone noticed a slight yellowish-brown tint in the spring.  A couple days later that water was much darker.  Within another week, a slimy film covered sections of the water along the banks and a foul odor was soon detected.  The mill wheels moved more slowly, some finally ground to a halt. Swans left, as did the tourists. Clammy fingers of disease and sickness reached deeply into the village.

Quickly, the embarrassed council called a special meeting. Realizing their gross error in judgment, they hired back the old keeper of the spring…and within a few weeks the veritable river of life began to clear up. The wheels started to turn, and new life returned to the hamlet in the Alps once again.


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