New York Rural Water : News

March 19, 2012

NYRWA Extends Our Deepest Sympathies to Lenny Fucci and Family

Category: General, Water — New York Rural Water @ 8:40 AM

The entire family here at the New York Rural Water Association would like to extend our deepest condolences and sympathy to Lenny Fucci and his entire family on the recent passing of his brother Michael.

Lenny has had a long and distinguished career as a water operator for the City of Hornell.  He has overseen many improvements and upgrades, but has foremost been dedicated to his family and in particular the youth of the Hornell area. 

Please keep Lenny and his family in your thoughts and prayers!

March 16, 2012

Trihalomethane Removal Systems Webinar 3/22/12

Category: Events, General — New York Rural Water @ 10:08 AM

There is a free training webinar being conducted by the National Rural Water Association on “Trihalomethane Removal Systems Using Aeration within the Storage Tank” next Thursday, 3/22 at 1PM EST (2 PM CST). 

THM problems are prevalent in many of the rural systems that have surface water supplies, and this webinar should be a good source of information and training about the issue.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR A FREE One Hour Webinar for National Rural Water Association (NRWA) onTrihalomethane Removal Systems Using Aeration within the Storage Tank”, Presented by DR PETER FISKE and RANDY MOORE.

Dr Peter Fiske and Randy Moore will review all the aeration options available for storage tanks and discuss the advantages/disadvantages of each and then talk about recent case studies including Ballinger, TX which was published in the Nov. 2012 AWWA Opflow 

Please send this link for registration to anyone you think might be interested in attending:

http://www.wateruniversity.org/Webinar/schedule.aspx

March 13, 2012

Comment Period for Design Standards for Intermediate-Sized Wastewater Treatment Systems

Category: Events, General, Wastewater — New York Rural Water @ 10:56 AM

NYS DEC is revising the design standards for intermediate-sized wastewater treatment systems and has released a draft for public comment. The public comment period ends on March 30, 2012.

The draft design standards apply to all on-site wastewater treatment systems except large Publicly Owned Treatment Works that discharge to surface water, and residential systems that discharge less than 1,000 gallons per day.

How do I get a copy of the draft design standards?
  • Online: View the draft design standards. Scroll down to the header “Design Standards for Intermediate-sized Wastewater Treatment Systems.”
  • By email: Send a request to dowinfo@gw.dec.state.ny.us with the subject line “Request draft Design Standards for Intermediate-Sized Wastewater Treatment Systems.”
  • By phone: 518-402-8111.
How do I comment on the draft design standards?

NYS DEC will accept written comments by mail or email until close of business on March 30, 2012. Address comments to:

Tom Boekeloo
NYSDEC – Division of Water
Bureau of Water Permits
625 Broadway, 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3505

Email: dowinfo@gw.dec.state.ny.us. Use subject line “Comments on draft Design Standards for Intermediate-Sized Wastewater Treatment Systems.”

NYRWA has a 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad-Cab 4×4 For Sale

Category: General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 9:54 AM

NYRWA has a 2007 Dodge Dakota Quad-Cab 4 x 4 SXT for sale.  99,000 miles, 4.7 V8, Automatic, 4 – wheel drive – electronic switch.  Loaded – PW, PDL, CC, AM-FM-CD, AC, 5 passenger, bucket sets, yellow strobe light, fiberglass tonneau, reese receiver/tow package.  Well maintained, oil changed every 3,000 miles, new radiator, new exhaust, new front wheel bearings, tires 95%.  No rust, just a few minor chips and scratches.  Asking $12,400 OBO  Go to our facebook page to see photos of the Dodge. 

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/pages/New-York-Rural-Water-Association/114699895236756

Urgent Message for New York Wastewater Facilities

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

ELAP is now requiring all wastewater treatment facilities that do settleable solids testing to belong to the ELAP certification program. There are costs associated with this program. If you thought you opted out of the program by sending out your BOD’s and suspended solids to contract labs read further.

 The theory behind the ELAP program was to ensure all treatment plants performed proper testing procedures in order to obtain reliable and defendable results. ELAP considered small plants that were testing once or twice a month for BOD and TSS the same as the larger facilities that were testing once a week or the commercial labs that were testing 50 or more times a day. In order to participate in the ELAP program, the facility had to pay a base fee followed by additional fees for each test they wanted to be certified to perform. There were also lab procedure manuals to develop, testing protocols to meet and annual inspections. Most of the small wastewater treatment plants chose to opt out of the program and send their samples to a certified lab. At that time, wastewater treatment plants that conducted in-house testing of pH, temperature, chlorine residual and settleable solids were exempted from the ELAP program and not charged the ELAP certification fee, provided those were the only in-house tests performed.

 In a letter dated February 16, 2012, ELAP stated that the grandfather clause regarding certification for pH, temperature, chlorine residual and settleable solids would end on March 31st, 2012. ELAP certification would no longer be required for pH, temperature or chlorine residual after April 1st, 2012, BUT CERTIFICATION FOR SETTLEABLE SOLIDS WOULD BE REQUIRED! This means the small wastewater treatment facility must either enter the ELAP program (with associated base fees, testing fees, protocols, inspections, etc.) OR send those samples to a certified lab every day or two for testing at an additional cost.

 The settleable solids test requires a sample of influent or effluent being placed in a graduated “cone” and left to settle for 45 minutes. After 45 minutes, the sample is gently stirred and allowed to settle for an additional 15 minutes. The amount of settled material is then recorded. That’s the test.

 It is interesting to note that the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40 (40 CFR) parts 141 and 142 regarding the National Primary Drinking Water Regulations (Drinking Water) exempts certain analyses from being performed by certified labs, but 40 CFR part 136 regarding the Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) (Wastewater) has no such language.

 Requiring certification to perform the settleable solids test will add to the ever increasing financial burden facing so many of our small wastewater treatment facilities. The deadline for submitting comments to this change has passed (March 10th), but we are urging all wastewater treatment plant operators, mayors and town supervisors to contact ELAP and voice your disapproval over this regulation. Call, e-mail and FAX Stephanie Ostrowski, Environmental Laboratory Approval Program director at:

 (518) 485-5570  

(518) 485-5568 (FAX)

elap@health.state.ny.us

 Also, contact your elected officials and let them know. We need to act quickly since we do not yet know what will happen on April 1st.

March 9, 2012

Landmark Hydrofracking Case in Otsego

Category: General, Hydrofracking, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 10:25 AM

Court rulings could stop controversial method in NY

By John Mason
Hudson-Catskill Newspapers

Published: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 2:10 AM EST

MIDDLEFIELD — A local law firm played a large part in recent developments that may have spelled the end of the road for the horizontal, high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, industry in New York state.

The firm Rapport, Meyers defended Middlefield, Otsego County against a suit brought by Cooperstown Holstein Corp. George Rodenhausen, the lawyer who argued the case, called the rulings “decisive” for the hydrofracking industry in New York state.

“If I were working for the industry, I would not appeal,” he said. “I would go to Pennsylvania.” Also working on the case were Victor Meyers, Cheryl Roberts and Victoria Polidoro.

Hydrofracking is a process that involves sending a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground to break apart rocks to release natural gas that is captured and brought to the surface. There has been resistance to it because of the possibility of aquifer contamination from the fracking as well as from containment ponds of contaminated water.

The decisions, rendered Tuesday in Dryden, Tompkins County and Friday in Middlefield, were good news for home rule: both judges ruled that municipalities have the right to ban fracking within their borders. Middlefield was being sued by for its June 14, 2011 zoning law banning “all oil, gas or solution mining and drilling.”

Meyers called it “a victory for home rule.”

“If they do take an appeal, it’s always better to be a respondent than an appellant,” he said. “The decisions were on firm ground.”

Roberts said other parts of the country will be looking at this decision as a precedent.

At issue was a statute of the state Environmental Conservation Law declaring that “the provisions of this article shall supercede all local laws or ordinances relating to the regulation of the oil, gas, and solution mining industries.”

Lawyers for Cooperstown Holstein argued that the Middlefield zoning law was superceded under this statute. They pointed to such legislation as Article 3-A of the 1963 Conservation Law, which states “it is hereby declared to be in the public interest to foster, encourage and promote the development, production and utilization of natural resources of oil and gas in such a manner as will prevent waste …”

“The key word is ‘regulation,’” Roberts said. “‘Regulation’ has been interpreted (under this ruling) to mean regulation of the industry, not land use regulation.”

Otsego County Acting Supreme Court Judge Donald F. Cerio Jr. looked back at the history of laws regulating oil and gas drilling in New York, particularly three laws from 1963, 1978 and 1981, and found that, while the state can pre-empt local laws “as to the method and manner of oil, gas and solution mining or drilling,” it “does not pre-empt local land use control.”

Based on this, he denied Cooperstown Holstein’s motion to void Middlefield’s zoning law.

“I knew we had won the case because he had no questions for me, but several questions for the lawyers for the industry and the property owner,” Rodenhausen said. “They were arguing it’s in the nature of gas drilling that you have to see that pre-emption is implied. The court asked, ‘Do you mean that the State Legislature pre-empted everything?’ The attorney said, ‘Yes.’”

Ceresia went on to ask, said Rodenhausen, if this meant towns had no rights at all, since their zoning could be overridden — a well could be placed next to a church or a school, or under an organic farm?

“The questioning was a clear indication he was on our side,” Rodenhausen said. “He was very familiar with gas and oil leases. He was knowledgeable about the intersection of oil and gas leasing and zoning, although this was the first time it’s been brought up in this state.”

“Because we were able to show they had not expressly done it, they said it was by implication,” Rodenhausen said. “You can’t override the constitutional right of the people by implication.”

In addition to the persuasiveness of the defense’s arguments, he said, “I think (the judge) was impressed by the fact that we had a pretty full courtroom of people from the town of Middlefield, concerned about their future.”

The agricultural community depends heavily on tourism.

“Their major industry is a brewery, Brewery Ommegang, that uses the water to make beer,” Rodenhausen said. “The plaintiff is a farmer who’s already signed up a number of leases. Her property is adjacent to the brewery; her well would have gone under the brewery.”

The well would have put the brewery out of business, either by contaminating the water, or, if not that, by the doubts it would have created in consumers, he said.

“The judge had read every single paper we submitted,” Rodenhausen said. “He was extremely well informed. I think he recognized that home rule through zoning and land use powers cannot easily be overridden in New York. I don’t think the Legislature will easily override this in the future; if they tried, I think they’d face (strong opposition).”

In addition to affecting the aquifer, Roberts said, a fracking industry would mean a tremendous increase in truck traffic for a locality.

“They have to truck in all the water that (will be used for fracking), 1.3 million to 9 million gallons per well,” she said. “Fracking fluid is then added to the water and it becomes hazardous; then you have the trucks leaving with the contaminated water.”

For a community like Middlefield, that’s based on tourism and farming, “this is an industry that’s going to disrupt those other types of land uses,” Roberts said. The Chamber of Commerce wrote a letter and found out the Park Slope Co-op in New York would no longer accept the town’s vegetables.

Meyers said the practice of fracking raises a lot of serious questions “in terms of the ground water and even the surface water — the holding ponds, the whole system is fraught with potential environmental hazards.”

Rodenhausen said the Dryden and Middlefield decisions “should encourage town boards and citizens to have their towns ban fracking. I think any town that permits fracking would be the exception.”

He said Rapport, Meyers would continue with the case to the Appellate Division if it goes there, but he wasn’t convinced the decision would be appealed because of the strength of the winning argument.

March 6, 2012

Congressman Richard Hanna supports Rural Water

Category: Funding, General, Wastewater, Water — New York Rural Water @ 10:48 AM

Congressman Richard Hanna, along with Congresswoman Kathy Hocul has agreed to cosponsor the NYRWA Dear Colleague Letter in support of the funding of our programs to continue to provide small community water and wastewater facilities with training and on-site technical assistance to assist in providing safe, clean, affordable drinking water to the public and to protect this precious resource through source water protection efforts. We applaud Congressman Hanna and Congresswoman Hochul for their support of the environment and the rural communities.

March 2, 2012

New Tool Provides Access to Water Pollution Data

Category: General — New York Rural Water @ 12:22 PM
EPA has announced the release of a new tool that provides the public with important information about pollutants that are released into local waterways. The discharge monitoring report pollutant loading tool brings together millions of records and allows for easy searching and mapping of water pollution by local area, watershed, company, industry sector and pollutant. The public can use this new tool to protect their health and the health of their communities. To view the tool, go to
http://cfpub.epa.gov/dmr/