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Governor Cuomo Presents the 17th Proposal of 2017 State of the State: Invest $2 Billion in Clean Water Infrastructure and Water Quality Protection

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to invest a record $2 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State.

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Investment to help communities upgrade aging drinking water and wastewater infrastructure.

Photo by: Benjamin Turner, via Free Images.

Albany, NY - January 9, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to invest a record $2 billion in critical water infrastructure across New York State. This historic investment in drinking water infrastructure, wastewater infrastructure and source water protection actions will enhance community health and wellness, safeguard our most important water resources, and create jobs. Funding for projects will prioritize regional and watershed level solutions, and incentivize consolidation and sharing of water and wastewater services.

“Investing in water infrastructure is critical to fostering growth in our communities and ‎our state," Governor Cuomo said. “This Act will continue our historic commitment to protecting and preserving New York’s natural resources by infusing $2 billion in critical upgrades to water systems across the state. This investment will rebuild and improve our regional infrastructure, while supporting a stronger, healthier New York for generations to come.”

The $2 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act will provide the capital dollars needed to upgrade municipal drinking water systems, improve municipal wastewater systems, and protect drinking water at its source. In addition to incentivizing shared services, funding will also prioritize bottom-up, community based planning at the regional and watershed level. Funded actions will include:

Municipal Drinking Water System Advancements

  • Installing advanced treatment and filtration systems to treat and remove both regulated and unregulated contaminants found in drinking water;
  • Upgrading aging distribution and treatment systems, including replacement of lead service lines in low-income communities; and
  • Connecting contaminated private drinking water wells to regulated public drinking water systems.

Municipal Wastewater Treatment Systems Improvements

  • Installing advanced wastewater treatment systems, including those to address nitrogen loading on Long Island;
  • Upgrading aging wastewater treatment plants to increase capacity and improve resiliency; and
  • Connecting existing homes in densely populated communities to sewer systems or installing advanced public on-site septic systems.

Source Water Protection Actions

  • Implementing recommendations of community-driven Source Water Protection Plans funded by the Environmental Protection Fund beginning in 2017-2018;
  • Conserving open spaces and building green infrastructure, such as constructed wetlands, to capture runoff and filter contaminants;
  • Ensuring proper management and storage of common contaminants like manure and road salt to prevent runoff; and
  • Increasing the state Superfund to expedite the cleanup of hazardous waste that may impact sources of drinking water.      

Basil Seggos, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, said, “Governor Cuomo continues to recognize the economic and environmental need to upgrade and improve the state’s aging water infrastructure and tackle emerging threats from unregulated contaminants in order to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean water. The Clean Water Infrastructure Act significantly bolsters the State’s leadership by continuing strategic investments in water infrastructure projects. By expanding funding for the state’s Superfund program, the state is also providing important resources to address potential areas of water contamination at their source.  As communities across the nation are struggling to update water infrastructure and address new challenges from emerging contaminants, New York is once again leading by example and ensuring all communities have access to clean water.”  

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, “Governor Cuomo clearly understands that clean drinking water is essential to public health. The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 commits historic levels of funding and takes aggressive actions to preserve our water supply while creating a national model for the protection of drinking water.”

Governor Cuomo has taken decisive action to ensure that current and future generations of New Yorkers have access to clean water. In February 2016, Governor Cuomo launched the Water Quality Rapid Response Team to swiftly identify and address drinking water quality issues across the state. In September, he signed into law landmark legislation requiring school districts to test for lead in their drinking water. As these ongoing efforts continue to identify new challenges, it is clear that the need for new infrastructure is far greater than currently-available resources.

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 will build on the Governor’s leadership in investing unprecedented resources for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure and water quality protection across the state. The Governor’s track record includes enacting the $400 million Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, securing a record $300 million investment for the Environmental Protection Fund, and providing $11 billion in Drinking Water and Clean Water State Revolving Fund financing. This critical $2 billion investment in clean water will protect public health, safeguard the environment, and create jobs.