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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.

Water Quality Improvement Project Grants Announced

On October 28, Governor Cuomo announced $39.5 million for 134 local and regional Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants across New York State. These projects are expected to improve water quality, reduce polluted runoff and restore waterbodies and aquatic habitats. The WQIP program provides funding for projects including: municipal wastewater treatment; municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4); polluted runoff abatement and control from non-farm sources; and aquatic habitat restoration.

A full list of projects is available on DEC's Water Quality Improvement Project Program webpage. More information is in Governor Cuomo's October 28 WQIP press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Public Comment Period for Draft Renewal of MS4 General Permit

The draft renewal of the SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (GP-0-15-003) and Fact Sheet are available for public review. The general permit for municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) will authorize new and existing discharges of stormwater from municipally-owned separate storm sewer systems.

Written comments must be submitted by close of business on November 28, 2014. View the October 29 Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment.

Governor Cuomo Announces Actions to Strengthen Coastal Resiliency against Future Storms on Long Island

Governor Cuomo has announced that the state will provide $300 million in grants and seek approval for $83 million in financing to Suffolk County for four projects to protect and improve Long Island's water quality and strengthen coastal resiliency against future storms and sea level rise.

The projects will implement key recommendations for Suffolk County contained in a new report, Coastal Resiliency and Water Quality in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, available on DEC's Long Island Coastal Resiliency and Clean Water Infrastructure webpage. The report outlines an action agenda to reduce nitrogen releases. Nitrogen releases damage protective coastal marshlands, create massive algal blooms and impact the quality of drinking water used by 2.8 million Long Island residents.

More information is in Governor Cuomo's October 28 Long Island press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Report Released on State's Recovery from Superstorm Sandy

Governor Cuomo has released a report detailing the progress made by New York State in the two years since Superstorm Sandy. The report highlights advancements made in the areas of housing, small businesses, infrastructure and community reconstruction, as well as a wide variety of steps taken by numerous State agencies, including DEC.

More information is in Governor Cuomo's October 29 Superstorm Sandy press release, which includes a link to download the report. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices was posted on DEC's Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage on Friday, October 31.

This week, no waterbodies were added to the notification list, but blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 22 waterbodies sampled in the last two weeks by DEC monitoring programs, volunteers and public reports. The DEC monitoring programs have completed their sampling for the year. Notifications will resume in spring 2015.

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

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.

Updates to DOW webpages

DEC has updated its Sewage Discharge Reporting Toolbox webpage related to the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law. The update includes information regarding the NY-Alert System for Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) and Publicly Owned Sewer Systems (POSSs).

The CSO Annual Report Form has been updated on the Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) webpage. DEC uses the information from these reports to monitor progress on CSO abatements. Reports are due January 31st each year.

Clear Waters Column on Excessive Nutrients

A column about minimizing nutrients written by DEC Assistant Commissioner for Water Resources James Tierney is now available on the Columns by DEC Staff Appearing in Clear Waters webpage. The column discusses how nutrients can harm our waters and the different ways New York is working to control nutrients. This column was originally published in this fall's issue of Clear Waters magazine.

Past columns are available on other topics, including federal funding for water programs, restoring the Great Lakes, climate change, enforcement of federal and state laws, and reducing phosphorus in New York's waterbodies.

More about ClearWaters

Clear Waters is the quarterly publication of the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA). A direct link to the NYWEA website is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page. The Division of Water regularly provides columns for Clear Waters.

EPA Approves New York Nonpoint Source Management Program

EPA has approved DEC's 2014-2019 New York Nonpoint Source Management Program. EPA required all states to update their Nonpoint Source programs for EPA approval by September 2014. The goals of the Nonpoint Source Program are to control pollution from nonpoint sources to the waters of the state and to protect, maintain and restore waters of the state that are vulnerable to, or are impaired by, nonpoint source pollution. More information, including a PDF of the 2014 Program, is on DEC's Nonpoint Source Program webpage.

What is Nonpoint Source Pollution?

Nonpoint source pollution comes from many sources and is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them in our waterways. Examples include: excess fertilizer and pesticides from agricultural lands and residential areas, and oil and grease from roads and parking lots.

Applications Now Being Accepted for 2014 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda Grants

DEC is now accepting applications for the 2014 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda grants. $150,000 is available from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund for projects that implement the 2012-2016 Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. The individual $5,000 - $10,000 grants are available to municipalities and 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporations.

Applications are available online at the New York State Grants Gateway and must be submitted by November 21, 2014. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

More information is in DEC's September 23 press release about the grants.

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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