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Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

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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.

EPA Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2016 Request for Applications Announced

EPA announced that up to $26 million in funding will be available to support the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Action Plan II. DEC's Great Lakes program encourages Great Lakes basin stakeholders to collaborate on competitive proposals and leverage funding to achieve the goals of the NYS Great Lakes Action Agenda and sub basin work group plans, as well as consider existing resources that can be useful in developing project proposals, including the DEC priority waterbodies list, state approved Nine Element Watershed Management plans, and Partnerships for Regional Invasive Species Management strategies. Applications are due January 13, 2017. A link to EPA's Great Lakes Restoration Initiative 2016 RFA webpage, which includes more information and the RFA, is on the right-hand side under "Links Leaving DEC's Website".

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

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

Updates of assessments for New York City Waters and other waters in drainage basins where 2015 NYSDEC monitoring was recently completed - the Delaware River, Genesee River and St Lawrence River Basins - are also underway and expected to be released during 2016.

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

Drought Watch in NYS - Save Water

Despite recent rain and snow, all of New York State remains under a drought watch. You can do your part to save water.

Plug up the sink or use a wash basin if washing dishes by hand. If you use a dishwasher, scrape plates instead of rinsing before loading into the dishwasher.

For more tips on conserving water, visit DEC's Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage.

Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants Available

Governor Cuomo announced that $3 million in Environmental Justice Community Impact Grants is available to mitigate environmental and public health threats in low-income and minority communities. Past projects awarded include water/air quality monitoring and green infrastructure installation. Applications are due January 31 at 3:00 PM. For more information, view the Governor's press release (link in right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website").

Construction Stormwater General Permit Modified to Require Use of Updated Blue Book

DEC has modified the SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (GP-0-15-002) to require use of the recently updated (November 2016) New York State Standards and Specifications for Erosion and Sediment Control (Blue Book) for the selection, design, installation, implementation and maintenance of erosion and sediment controls required by GP-0-15-002.

The permit modification is dated November 23, 2016, but the requirement to use the updated Blue Book will not be effective until February 1, 2017 to provide a transition period for projects currently under design. For more information, view the November 23 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

SPDES Pesticide General Permit Renewed

DEC has renewed the SPDES General Permit for Point Source Discharges to Surface Waters of New York from Pesticide Applications (GP-0-16-005). GP-0-16-005 is effective from November 9, 2016 until October 31, 2021, and replaces the previous general permit, GP-0-11-001, which expired on October 31, 2016.

This permit is required and authorizes coverage for point source discharges resulting from any application of a pesticide labeled for aquatic uses directly to, in, or over a surface water of New York State. For more information view the November 16 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Public Comment Period for Draft MS4 Permit Extended

DEC is extending the comment period for the draft renewal of the SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) (GP-0-17-002) and supporting documents to close of business on December 23, 2016.

View the November 16 Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment.

DEC and NYWEA Cooperative Agreement Signing Ceremony

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos joined members of the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) on November 14 at DEC headquarters in Albany for a special signing ceremony of a new cooperative agreement. Under the agreement NYWEA will administer the wastewater treatment plant operator certification program, which ensures that all operators are educated, trained, and experienced. This program, administered by NYWEA for the past few years, is an enormous help to DEC. Wastewater treatment facility operation and maintenance personnel play a crucial role in improving and protecting water quality across New York State.

Winners Announced for Environmental Excellence Awards

DEC recognized eight organizations for state-of-the-art programs and commitment to environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and economic viability at the 13th Annual New York State Environmental Excellence Awards, held at Union College's Park Hall.

The 2016 winners are:

  • The New York Yankees
  • The Adirondack Mountain Club
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's New York City Transit Mother Clara Hale Bus Depot
  • The Fashion Institute of Technology
  • SUNY Upstate Medical University
  • The New York Rural Water Association
  • Finger Lakes ReUse
  • Waste Management's High Acres Landfill and Recycling Center.

For more information about the winning programs, view DEC's November 15 press release.

Final Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations Announced

DEC has finalized and posted regulations needed to implement the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act.

The Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act requires that discharges of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges are reported by publicly owned treatment works and publicly owned sewer systems within two hours of discovery to DEC and within four hours of discovery to the public and adjoining municipalities.

Regulation-related documents can be found on DEC's Recently Adopted Regulations webpage. Visit DEC's Sewage Pollution Right to Know webpage for instructions on how to sign up for public alerts.

Reminder: Cutoff Date for Fertilizing Lawns is December 1

If you plan to fertilize your lawn this fall, remember that New York has a state law that restricts the use of lawn fertilizers. It is against the law to fertilize lawns between December 1 and April 1. Some areas also have local laws about selling and using lawn fertilizers (e.g., Suffolk County prohibits the application of lawn fertilizers after November 1).

Visit DEC's Dishwasher Detergent and Nutrient Runoff Law web page for more information. The law does not apply to agricultural fertilizer or fertilizer for gardens.

Choose a lawn fertilizer with no phosphorus.

Lawn fertilizer can have unnecessary phosphorus that runs into waterbodies. Excess phosphorus in freshwater lakes and ponds can cause algae overgrowth, with serious impacts to the environment and public health.

Hudson River Watershed Flood Mitigation Assessment Request for Proposals (RFP)

The New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission (NEIWPCC) in cooperation with DEC's Hudson River Estuary Program is soliciting proposals for a study to assess flooding vulnerabilities in a Hudson River watershed or subwatershed, and propose flood mitigation solutions that consider both engineering (e.g. roads, bridges, culverts) and natural system solutions (e.g. conservation or restoration of wetlands, forests). The watershed does not need to include a public drinking water source, although its inclusion is preferred. The deadline for applications is December 30, 2016 at 12:00 PM.

For more information about this RFP, please visit DEC's Grants and Funding Opportunities for the Hudson River Estuary webpage.

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.

Final Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations Announced

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