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Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

a photo of Loon Lake at sunset
Loon Lake at sunset

Welcome to the Division of Water webpage! The Division conducts a variety of programs to protect and conserve New York's waters. On this page you will find information about the Division's programs and recent activities.

What's New in the Division of Water?

The Division of Water uses this page to highlight water-related information that we think may interest you. This page is updated weekly and topics are typically posted here for about 30 days. If a topic has a specific end date (such as a public comment period or an event), the description is removed after the end date.

Topics on this page are advertised via the MakingWaves email list. You can subscribe to MakingWaves and other DEC email lists by visiting DEC's email update webpage. If you already receive updates from DEC, you can manage your subscription on this page too.

REMINDER: Upcoming Public Information Meetings about the proposed Sewage Pollution Right to Know (SPRTK) Act regulations

Public information meetings about the proposed SPRTK regulations will be held at the following locations: Albany, Rochester, Stone Ridge, Utica, New York City and Brentwood. The first meeting is July 7. Details about the public meetings, including registration through Eventbrite, can be found on the Environmental Notice Bulletin announcement. Registration for the meetings through Eventbrite is encouraged for attendance at all sessions and is required for the New York City session.

Check out DEC's new "The Water's Great in New York State" bookmark!

Water recreation (swimming, boating, fishing) season is here! NYS has thousands of places to swim, fish, boat, paddle, but certain conditions can affect water quality. The new bookmark, on DEC's swimming webpage, is a quick and useful reference of what to look out for when on the water, what to do and how to avoid poor water quality.

Emergency Action Plans for High- and Intermediate-Hazard Dams Save Lives

The DEC marks the 10th anniversary of the Hadlock Pond Dam failure. The Hadlock Pond Dam, a high hazard dam in the town of Fort Ann, Washington County, failed around 6 p.m., July 2, 2005. About 520 million gallons of water was released. Flood flows from the dam failure caused extensive damage downstream of the dam, totaling about $10 million in value, including the destruction of several homes. Fortunately, prompt activation of the Emergency Action Plan for the dam alerted downstream residents and helped to prevent any casualties.

In 2009, DEC issued new dam regulations requiring, among other provisions, that all high-and intermediate-hazard dam owners create Emergency Action Plans (EAP) for their dams. DEC reminds dam owners to make sure their EAPs are up-to-date and local participants are ready to help implement the plan.

More information on DEC's dam safety program and Emergency Action Plans can be found at DEC's Dam Safety page.

Information about EAPs, is found in DEC's guidance document "TOGS 3.1.3 - Emergency Action Plans for Dams" (PDF, 1 MB).

Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices has been posted today, July 3, on the DEC Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage.

This week, 6 waterbodies were added to the notification list, and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 130 waterbodies sampled in the last two to three weeks by DEC monitoring programs, volunteers and public reports.

Because waterbodies may have blue-green algae blooms that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating rafts, scums and discolored water - If you see it, avoid it and report it!

Know the Symptoms of Blue-green Algae Exposure
  • nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
  • skin or throat irritation
  • allergic reactions or breathing difficulties

These symptoms may be mistaken for common gastrointestinal distress, for example, food poisoning, heat exposure, or other illness. Regardless of the cause of the illness, these symptoms may require medical attention. If you have been exposed to blue green algae blooms and experience any of the symptoms, seek medical assistance. More information about these symptoms can be found on the Department of Health Blue-green Algae web page.

Report Your Symptoms

The New York State Department of Health is collecting information to evaluate the frequency and intensity of illness and other problems from blue green algae exposure. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should send an email summarizing these symptoms and the location of the bloom to harmfulalgae@health.ny.gov and your local health department.

Report a Suspected Bloom

If you suspect you have seen a blue-green algae bloom, or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a blue-green algae bloom, please follow the instructions for reporting a bloom to DEC.

Reminder: Application Deadline for Two Water Quality Grant Programs

Applications are being accepted until July 31, 2015 at 4 p.m. for the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grants program (EPG) and the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant program. These grant programs are included in the Regional Economic Development Council Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Up to $35 million is available for WQIP and up to $2 million is available for the EPG grant. Download the "CFA Resource Manual" from NYS Regional Economic Development Council's website for program details about these two grant programs as well as a complete list of the grant programs being offered through the CFA.

Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations Announced

NYS DEC has announced that it will be accepting public comments from June 17- July 31 on the Sewage Pollution Right to Know regulations. Also, DEC will also hold four public information sessions offering information on the law, regulations and how to enroll for NY-Alert, a free notification system, to receive sewage discharge alerts.

The proposed regulations have been filed with the NYS Department of State and have been published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin (ENB). The regulations will be published in the State Register on June 17 followed by a 45-day comment period from June 17-July 31.

Under the new law, publicly owned treatment works as well as publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs) are required to notify DEC within two hours of a sewage discharge. The proposed rule would extend direct regulatory oversight to POSSs, which are not currently regulated through DEC's SPDES program.

DEC partnered with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to enhance the electronic NY-Alert notification system so that reporting is free of charge to municipalities and the broadcasting of sewage spill alerts is rapidly available. NY-Alert is used by New York State agencies and municipalities for public safety messaging. Through the NY-Alert system, municipalities will make the information available to the general public and neighboring municipalities.

For instructions on how to receive alerts about sewage spills through NY-Alert, visit DEC's YouTube video via the "links leaving DEC website" on the right hand side of this page.

NYS Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training

The NYSDEC Floodplain Management Section is offering training on floodplain management, FEMA levee mapping protocols and certification requirements, and the coastal erosion hazard area program. These free training sessions will be held throughout the state under a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant. They are designed for code enforcement and building officials, floodplain administrators, local elected officials, planners and engineers.

The full day floodplain management training will be offered in most of the state's counties. This training session will provide a detailed overview of FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and review the community's role and responsibilities in administering this program on a local level. Half day training on FEMA's levee mapping requirements and techniques will be offered in areas of the state that have levees. Training on DEC's Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) program will be offered in Long Island, New York City and Great Lakes areas that have CEHA zones.

Please check the Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training webpage periodically to find out when these free training sessions will come to a county near you. If you need more specific information or have questions, please email Tim Avery at tavery@fisherassoc.com.

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

Updates of water quality assessment information for individual WI/PWL waterbodies are announced through MakingWaves. Most recently, WI/PWL Fact Sheets for the following waterbodies have been revised/updated:

Comments on these (or other) assessments are welcome via email.

In addition the WI/PWL webpages are being modified to make it easier to find Fact Sheets for specific waterbodies of interest. These changes have now been completed for the Lake Champlain Basin.

Attend a WQIP or Engineering Planning Grant Workshop

This year, the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program and the Engineering Planning Grant are both part of the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). Multiple workshops are being held across the state where staff are giving presentations on both these grants at the workshops. A list of workshops can be found on the Governor's website. We encourage you to attend a workshop near you to learn more about the grant programs. Staff will be available to answer your questions. All CFA applications must be completed by July 31, 2015 at 4:00 PM.

Visit the DEC web site to learn more about the WQIP program (link to wqip page). Download the WQIP Round 12 Request for Applications (PDF) (297 KB) from the DEC's website or the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) 2015 Regional Council Guidebook (leaving DEC website).

Information about the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grants program can be found on DEC's and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation's (EFC) websites. Download the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant Request for Applications (PDF) (178 KB) or the New York State Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) 2015 Regional Council Guidebook for program details.
Applicants must apply for the grant programs through the New York State Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). All CFA applications must be completed by July 31, 2015 at 4:00 PM.

Articles about Water by Division of Water Staff

Division of Water employees regularly write articles for the magazine Clearwaters, the quarterly publication of the New York Water Environment Association. The DOW Library webpage webpage houses these, and other, water-related articles written by DOW staff and others in DEC.

Division Webpages

Carpenter Falls
Carpenter Falls

The Division of Water's webpages fall mainly into one of the two following locations:

  • Water Pollution Control - Information, guidance material and forms about the programs the Division of Water administers to control sources of water pollution.
  • Lands and Waters - Water resource information is divided into the following categories:
    • Watersheds, Lakes Rivers: Information on NYS watersheds and other water bodies
    • Oceans & Estuaries: NYS marine and estuary resource information
    • Groundwater: Aquifer and groundwater information & resources
    • Dam Safety, Coastal & Flood Protection: Program information related to flood protection, floodplain development, dam safety, and coastal management
    • Water Supply & Reclamation: Information on protecting New York's public water supplies and drought information

Division's Mission

The Mission of the Division of Water is to protect and conserve the water resources of New York State. This mission is accomplished through a wide range of programs and activities. Some of these are statewide in their scope and apply to all parts of the state. Other efforts are targeted to address water quality and quantity issues in specific regions of the state, focusing on waterbodies or watersheds where these issues are of particular concern. Still other programs target specific contaminants (e.g., mercury) or sources (e.g., stormwater runoff) or impacts (e.g., acid rain) of pollution.

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