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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.

Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan Public Comment Period

The Draft Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan for the Chemung and Susquehanna River Basins for the Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) is available for public comment through June 7, 2019.

For more information, including where to submit comments, view the April 10, 2019 Environmental Notice Bulletin. The draft document and appendices can be viewed on DEC's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program webpage.

Be an Earth Hero

The Division of Water collaborated with other DEC programs on the Spring 2019 issue of DEC's Conservationist for Kids. The issue's message to young "Earth Heroes" is take action to reduce plastic pollution, save water, protect native plants and animals, reduce wasted food, and keep air clean.

Environmental Excellence Awards Reminder

Reminder: Applications for the 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards are due April 17, 2019. Organizations that are implementing innovative approaches and technologies, advancing sustainable practices, generating economic growth, harnessing the power of creative partnerships, and achieving extraordinary outcomes are encouraged to apply.

Pollution Prevention Community Grants

The New York State Pollution Prevention Institute (NYSP2I) is now accepting applications for its Community Grants Program 2019-2020 (leaves DEC website) for pollution prevention outreach and education projects. Eligible groups include community organizations, municipal departments, and other public sector and not-for-profit entities for projects that raise awareness and understanding of pollution prevention practices and lead to implementation at the local level. Applications are due May 31, 2019 at 5:00 PM.

604(b) Grant Awards Announced

Nine organizations have been awarded Clean Water Act Section 604(b) funding for four-year water quality planning programs in New York State. The programs focus on: source water protection, nine element watershed management plans, MS4 General Permit assistance, and Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan local engagement assistance. One organization has also received an award for statewide coordination of the 604(b) program.

The funding for the first year of the programs totals $715,563. The award amounts vary yearly depending on federal funding.

For a complete list of awardees and more information about the program, visit DEC's 604(b) Grants webpage.

More about 604(b)

The federal Clean Water Act provides funding to states for regional water quality management planning projects. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards 604(b) grants to states, which in turn make awards to regional planning and interstate organizations. 604(b) funds are to be used for water quality management planning activities, including tasks to determine the nature, extent and causes of point and nonpoint source water pollution problems, and to develop plans to resolve these problems.

Look for the Zero Reminder: Use Only Phosphorus-Free Lawn Fertilizer

New York's nutrient runoff law prohibits the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizers unless a new lawn is being established or a soil test shows that the lawn does not have enough phosphorus. Regardless of the location, excess phosphorus from lawns can wash off and pollute lakes and streams, harming fish and ruining boating and swimming.

More than 100 waterbodies in the state cannot be used or enjoyed as a result of too much phosphorus. For more information, visit DEC's Lawn Fertilizer webpage.

New Clear Waters Columns Available

Three new columns about water-related issues written by DEC Deputy Commissioner for Water Resources James Tierney are now available on the Columns by DEC Staff Appearing in Clear Waters webpage. The topics include the Long Island Sound, harmful algal blooms and funding opportunities for clean water infrastructure. These columns were originally published in three 2018 issues of the New York Water Environment Association's (NYWEA) quarterly Clear Waters magazine.

Great Lakes Action Agenda Workgroup Meetings

DEC will be hosting a series of meetings for Great Lakes stakeholders to discuss advancing projects and initiatives to achieve the goals of New York's Great Lakes Action Agenda:

  • SE Lake Ontario Workgroup - May 29, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM - Fair Haven Beach State Park (tentative)
  • NE Lake Ontario Workgroup - May 30, 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM - Gouverneur Community Center
  • Lake Erie Workgroup - June 5, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM - location TBD
  • SW Lake Ontario Workgroup - June 6, 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM - location TBD

All NYS Great Lakes stakeholders are invited to participate-including environmental organizations, academic institutions, state and federal agencies, local government, individuals and other diverse stakeholder groups (business, health, recreation, planning, etc.).

Please RSVP to at least one week in advance of the meeting you plan to attend.

DEC Collects Long Island Pharmaceuticals

DEC collected 320 pounds of pharmaceutical drug collectionmedications during its annual Long Island Pharmaceutical Take Back event. Twenty-seven facilities made up primarily of nursing, extended care, and rehabilitation centers, participated in the program, which collects and responsibly destroys unused or expired pharmaceuticals.

In addition to collection events, DEC encourages New Yorkers to use medication collection box locations, which can be found by visiting DEC's website and clicking on the NYS Medication Drop Box Locations map.

Upcoming DEA Prescription Drug Collection

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Collections will be held at many locations around the state and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs. For more information and locations, visit DEA's National Take Back Initiative webpage (leaves DEC website).

Visit DEC's Drugs in New York's Waters webpage for more information about keeping drugs out of our waters.

Student Posters Highlight Watershed Protection

Every time many of us turn on a faucet, clean, drinkable water comes out, so it's easy to take it for granted. However, billions of people around the world are still living without safe water.

Everyone has a role in protecting and conserving water. In addition to avoiding waste and using water wisely, it's important to help keep our water clean. What you do at your home and in your community affects everyone downstream of you.

DEC's 2019 We All Live in a Watershed Poster contest invited middle school students around the state to learn about their role in the watershed they live in and how to conserve and protect our water resources.

This year's winning posters, which will be included in a 2020 calendar distributed throughout the state, provide tips and inspiration for protecting our watersheds now and for future generations.

Public Medication Drop Box at DEC Central Office

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos has announced that a medication collection box is now available to the public at DEC's Central Office at 625 Broadway, Albany. The box provides an accessible downtown location where people can dispose of unwanted or unused medications.

Don't live in the Albany area? View the Drop Box map at to find a safe disposal site near you.

Request for Proposals to Reduce Flood and Stormwater Risks

DEC announced the availability of $125,000 for the design of a project to reduce shoreline or stormwater risk in one or more of the communities of Catskill, Kingston, Piermont, or Hudson, NY. Eligible projects must reduce risks from shoreline or stormwater flooding and erosion while enhancing habitat value, which may include options for strategic relocation, resilient waterfront structures and infrastructure, natural and nature-based shoreline design, and stormwater green infrastructure. The deadline for proposals is April 19, 2019. For more information, view DEC's March 8 press release.

Applications Being Accepted for Environmental Excellence Awards

DEC is now accepting applications for the 2019 Environmental Excellence Awards program. Organizations that are implementing innovative approaches and technologies, advancing sustainable practices, generating economic growth, harnessing the power of creative partnerships, and achieving extraordinary outcomes are encouraged to apply. Applications are due April 17, 2019.

Revised Rulemaking to Amend Water Quality Standards Regulations and the Classification of Upper and Lower New York Bay

DEC is seeking public comments on the revised rulemaking to amend water quality standards regulations and the classification of Upper and Lower New York Bay. The rulemaking to amend Parts 700, 703, and 890 of Title 6 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York (6 NYCRR) to adopt new standards for enterococci and E. coli to meet the requirements of federal law and to upgrade the classifications of certain surface waters in New York Harbor was proposed on March 21, 2018. In response to public comment, DEC is making several changes to the original proposal, and seeks written public comment on those revisions. There will not be any additional public hearings related to these revisions. Public comments are due by midnight on April 15, 2019. For more information, including how to comment, visit the February 27 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Source Water Buffer Funding Available

A total of $5,000,000 in funds are available through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Source Water Buffer Program (leaves DEC website) for the purchase of conservation easements on agricultural lands that support, expand or enhance water quality protection of active public drinking water sources including but not limited to aquifers, watersheds, reservoirs, lakes, rivers, and streams. Program funds will also be available for the implementation of Riparian Buffer Systems within the conservation easement area that will provide further protection to water quality.

Applications for funding will be accepted through January 2020 from Soil and Water Conservation Districts, or a group of Districts acting jointly.

Livestock Farm Water Quality Protection Funding Available

$18.4 million is available to help New York livestock farms implement water quality protection projects. The funding is provided through the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets CAFO Waste Storage and Transfer System Program (leaves DEC website). Applications are accepted through April 16, 2019.

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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