New York Rural Water : News

May 27, 2011

New Yorkers Divided Over Hydrofracking, But United On Water Preservation

Category: General,Hydrofracking,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 1:17 PM

In the process called hydraulic fracturing or “hydrofracking,” millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals shot into the ground break up rocks and release natural gas. Environmentalists worry about the dozens of chemicals used in the process, and maintain the chemicals contaminate drinking water.

Average New Yorkers are split on the issue. According to a new NY1-Marist Poll, 41 percent of state residents oppose hydrofracking while 38 percent support it. However,
21 percent are unsure.

That same uncertainty also exists in New York City, where 39 percent of city respondents oppose hydrofracking, 35 percent are in favor of it and 26 percent are unsure.

Upstate, 47 percent are against hydrofracking, 37 percent support it and 16 percent are unsure.

Statewide, 39 percent select oil independence as a priority, while 56 percent choose preserving the water supply.

Although preserving the water supply is the choice of a majority of New Yorkers regardless of region. The highest percentage who select that priority — 60 percent — lives in New York City, but 57 percent of respondents in the suburbs and 51 percent upstate choose that as well.

What is perhaps surprising is many New Yorkers do not know where their water comes from. Three-fourths of those living in New York City correctly identify upstate reservoirs as their primary source of water, but 25 percent do not.

Included in this 25 percent are 11 percent who think they get their water mostly from the Hudson River, 1 percent who report it comes from the Long Island Sound and 13 percent who are unsure.

The potential impact of hydrofracking on the water supply is under review by the state and a moratorium stands on certain kinds of fracking until July.

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points.

View full poll results

Taken from

May 23, 2011

Wish Lists and PER’S

Category: Funding,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 1:24 PM

There has been a change in the way the USDA Rural Development approves expenditures of monies left over after a funded project is complete. Those “wish list” items that used to be easily approved, adding a few more users, purchase of equipment and so on, NEED to be addressed in the PER. Unless specifically identified in the PER, USDA RD will not allow them any more. Talk with your engineer. Have them include a section in the PER addressing projects or equipment that would be considered if the funded project comes in under budget. For more information, please contact the New York Rural Water Association or your Regional Rural Development office.

May 17, 2011

Wall at sewage treatment plant collapses at Binghamton-Johnson City Joint Sewage Treatment Facility

Category: General,Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 8:45 AM

To read the story, and to view pictures and videos, please click here

May 16, 2011

Proper Disposal of Unused Medicines: Preventing Diversion and Pollution

Category: General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 10:27 AM

Free Webinar
May 24 2PM Central Time

It’s become common practice to advise patients to flush any unused prescriptions down the toilet, so those pharmaceuticals aren’t used improperly in the future. Flushing has kept these medicines from being abused, but there is increasing evidence that this practice is polluting our water sources with prescription-level chemicals including painkillers, anti-depressants and hormone treatments. In this presentation an expert panel will discuss issues of proper pharmaceutical disposal, including details of on-going, successful collection programs. Speakers are from the University of Illinois, Illinois Rural Water Association and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Webinar presenters:
Scott Collier – USDOJ DEA, Diversion Program Manager, St. Louis Field Division Scott Collier is a 25 year veteran of DEA. He currently is in charge of pharmaceutical and synthetic drug investigations for the St. Louis Division, which encompasses South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Laura Kammin – Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, Pollution Prevention Program Specialist

Paul Ritter -2011-2012 National Environmental Science Teacher of the Year Director / President Elect / Ecology Teacher/The National Prescription Pill and Drug Disposal Program/ Illinois Science Teachers Association/ Pontiac Twp. High School

Kathy Rodgers – Illinois Rural Water, Source Water Specialist Kathy Rodgers coordinates activities and facilitates the process of source water protection planning and implementation within Illinois. Prior to joining IRWA Kathy was a contributing member of the mercury emission abatement Research and Development team and manager of a certified laboratory.

May 13, 2011

DEC challenged on gas drilling rules

Category: General,Water — New York Rural Water @ 3:35 PM

Opponents of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas want the state Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt a more detailed level of environmental review for the limited use of the technique already allowed by the state.

The claim was made in legal papers filed Wednesday with the DEC by Advocates for Cherry Valley, an Otsego County environmental group. It focuses on the use of hydrofracking — a high-pressure injection of a mix of chemicals, sand and water to break up underground formations of gas-bearing rock — already used on vertical wells in Cherry Valley, an area north of Cooperstown.

DEC relies on a 1992 review on oil and gas drilling to allow vertical hydrofracking, which is much more limited than horizontal hydrofracking, in which multiple horizontal fractures are done from a single vertical well. Horizontal wells can cover much larger areas underground than vertical wells.

The horizontal technique, already in use in Pennsylvania and other states, has drawn widespread controversy in New York. Opponents claim it can endanger water supplies, while the industry claims it is safe.

DEC has studied creation of rules for horizontal hydrofracking for more than two years.

Peter Henner, a lawyer for Advocates for Cherry Valley, said the legal challenge maintains the 1992 review, used to form a generic environmental impact statement, is insufficient for modern hydrofracking.

“There is much more than what DEC considered when it wrote its statement in 1992. There are much more intense chemicals, a much more intense process,” Henner said.

He wants to see DEC require detailed environmental review under the State Environmental Quality Review Act on individual vertical hydrofracking well applications, and to consider the accumulated impacts of vertical hydrofracked wells near each other.

An industry spokesman said vertical hydrofracking is a “well-understood technology that is appropriately regulated by DEC, has been in practice, even on home water wells, for decades in New York, and is validated by an outstanding record of safety and environmental protection.”

Brad Gill, president of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York, called the challenge a “deliberate attempt to shut down an important industry.”

Taken from the

May 5, 2011

Six Central New York water projects win $3 million in state grants

Category: Funding,General,Wastewater,Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:15 AM

St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center is putting a $1.3 million garden on its roof, a project that will suck up more than half a million gallons of rainwater each year.

The Onondaga County War Memorial is getting a new, green $1.5 million plumbing system that will use rainwater to flush toilets and make ice for the Syracuse Crunch hockey team.

The village of Cazenovia is spending $366,000 to turn a dozen historic buildings on its main thoroughfare into rain collectors as well, installing new basins and drains that will deposit water into an old-fashioned cistern with a pump handle for village officials and residents to use.

Today, the state Environmental Facilities Corp. announced these three projects were among 40 that won $15 million worth of competitive grants for innovations in green infrastructure.

All told, six projects in Central New York won a little more than $3 million from the public authority run by former Syracuse mayor Matt Driscoll.

St. Joe’s and the War Memorial each won $712,500 from the corporation’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The grant money is a mix of 80 percent federal funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and 20 percent of borrowed state money, according to an EFC spokeswoman.

All recipients must add a 10 percent match to the grant.

The “green” ice rink is supposed to be ready for the Crunch’s upcoming season this fall.

“It’s something that people can see and that is sparking the conversation that we need so that people understand what green infrastructure is,” County Executive Joanie Mahoney said. “We’re hoping that people can ask more about what it is they can do in their own homes to capture stormwater.”

The more rainwater is used where it falls – either for large, roof-top gardens or back-yard vegetable patches – and the less it goes into the sewage system will reduce the risk of raw sewage overflowing into waterways.

The winning projects in Central New York include:

St. Joe’s is putting a 39,500-square-foot green roof atop its current $79 million expansion that will include emergency, heart and psychiatric services. The garden will be built this year, according to Kevin Flegal, director of facilities services at the hospital.

In Cazenovia, the village won $325,000 toward its rainwater collection project, according to village Trustee Peggy Van Arnam. Part of the water will funnel into nearby Chittenango Creek. The rest will go into a community cistern on Albany Street, the village’s main street.

Cayuga County got $712,500 toward a $833,400 project to rebuild wetlands on the Owasco Flats. The flats sit on the south end of Owasco Lake, which supplies drinking water for more than half of the county’s residents, according to Bruce Natale, an environmental engineer for the county. Over time, the inlet has become a culvert, and the grant will help spread out the flow over land, a process that naturally leaches phosphorus and nitrogen from the water.

Minoa got $307,000 toward a $1 million project to rebuild man-made wetlands on the output side of its sewage treatment facility. The 15-year-old system naturally treats 130,000 gallons a day, according to village Mayor Dick Donovan.

Solvay got $252,000 toward a $295,512 project to keep stormwater out of Geddes Brook and Onondaga Lake.

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