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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.

Nearly $1 Million in Grants Awarded to Restore Chesapeake Bay Watershed

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos awarded three grants totaling nearly $1 million for programs in New York's portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Funding for the grants is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. DEC's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program administers the grants. The grants are for projects to permanently protect riparian buffers through land acquisition and conservation easements. For more information, view DEC's July 14 press release.

Sewage Pollution Right to Know Historical Data through May 2017 Posted

This week, historical sewage discharge report data through mid-May 2017 was posted on DEC's Sewage Discharge Reports webpage. The data comes from NY-Alert reports to DEC of untreated and partially treated sewage discharges, as required by the 2013 Sewage Pollution Right to Know law.

Historical data is added to the website periodically in batches. Notifications of discharges for the last 7 days are located on the Recent NY-Alert Sewage Spill Notifications webpage.

More about Sewage Pollution Right to Know and Alerts

The law builds public awareness about where sewage pollution is entering waterbodies and helps to document wastewater infrastructure needs. The NY-Alert notifications help the public avoid contact with waterbodies that may contain bacteria that can cause illness while boating, fishing or swimming.

Visit the Sewage Pollution Right to Know webpage to learn how to receive sewage spill notifications by phone, text or email.

New Publications Available

Two new Division of Water publications are now available on the DEC website. Protect Our Waters: Funding and Assistance for Planting Riparian Buffers (PDF, 801 KB) describes the variety of federal, state and local technical assistance and funding programs for landowners, municipalities and conservation organizations to plant riparian buffers to improve water quality and wildlife habitat.

Volunteer for WAVE (Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators) (PDF, 1 MB) describes the WAVE program, a citizen science stream monitoring program run by the Division of Water. Although the 2017 WAVE sampling season started July 1, it's not too late to participate (contact

Harmful Algal Bloom Notifications

New waterbodies with harmful algal blooms have been added July 21 to DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms Notifications webpage.

This week, 12 waterbodies were added to the notification list. There are currently 39 waterbodies with blooms on the list.

What's the difference between freshwater and marine blooms?

Did you know that HABs can form in marine waters? In freshwater, cyanobacteria form HABs, but in marine waters different algae cause blooms.

Marine HABs may color the water red or brown and are often referred to as "red tide" or "brown tide." These algae may also produce biotoxins that are harmful to humans and marine organisms. However, some blooms that color the water are harmless. For more information about marine blooms, visit DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms and Marine Biotoxins webpage.

Avoid and Report Suspected Blooms

Because waterbodies may have harmful algal blooms that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating mats, scum and discolored water.

If you suspect you have seen a harmful algal bloom, or you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a harmful algal bloom, please follow the instructions for reporting a bloom to DEC. If you see it, avoid it and report it!

Check out DEC's Swimming Webpage

Swimming season is here and there are many places to swim in New York State. DEC encourages you to have fun, but also to be aware of possible hazards.

DEC's swimming webpage has links to places to swim, information about possible hazards and ways to reduce risk, and links to resources to help you make informed decisions (including information about sewage pollution and harmful algal blooms).

Link to Salt Storage Specifications for WQIP

Applications to the salt storage category of the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program must adhere to the OGS salt storage specifications. Some applicants have requested a more direct link to the specifications. In addition to the link listed on our website and in the Program Overview, here is another path to the same information: OGS Salt Storage Specifications (PDF, 117 KB).

State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Priority Ranking List 2017

The 2017 SPDES Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy (EBPS) priority ranking list is now available to view on DEC's SPDES Permit webpage. The list is based on a ranking system that prioritizes permits for full technical review and, when necessary, modification. Any interested party may provide, at any time, substantive comments requesting a change in a permit's rank based on the grounds that newly discovered information exists; that a change in environmental conditions has occurred; or that relevant technology or applicable law or regulations have changed since the existing permit was issued. For more information, and how to comment, view the July 12 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Open Enrollment for DEC's Pharmaceutical Take-Back Pilot Program

DEC is relaunching its Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program that promotes the proper disposal of unwanted medication. Enrollment in DEC's pilot take-back program is now open to all New York State health care entities such as:

  • retail chain and independent pharmacies,
  • hospitals and medical clinics with on-site pharmacies, and
  • authorized collectors of pharmaceuticals servicing long-term care facilities (LTCFs).

The program will cover the costs of consumer drug collection boxes and disposal for two years. Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis, but every effort will be made to maximize program participation.

For more information about the program and to apply online, visit DEC's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-back Program webpage. To learn more about drugs in New York's Waters and how you can help keep them out, visit DEC's Drugs in New York's Waters webpage.

Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Frequently Asked Questions Updated

The frequently asked questions (FAQ) webpage for the WQIP grant program has been updated. As a reminder, applications are due July 28, 2017 at 4:00 PM.

Revised Draft Multi-Sector General Permit Renewal Public Comment Period

The revised draft renewal of the SPDES Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activity (GP-0-17-004) and fact sheet are available for public review. A previous version of the renewal was noticed on March 29, 2017. Written comments are due by close of business on August 4, 2017. For more information and how to comment view the July 5 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

WQIP Land Acquisition Projects for Source Water Protection FAQs Updated

New frequently asked questions (PDF, 253 KB) regarding the Land Acquisition Projects for the WQIP Source Water Protection category have been posted on DEC's WQIP webpage.

2017 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Award Winners

The Division of Water, in cooperation with the New York Water Environment Association, is pleased to announce the 2017 winners of the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Awards:

  • The winner of a $4,000 scholarship is Matthew Baideme, currently enrolled in a doctorate program in Earth and Environmental Engineering at Columbia University in New York City.
  • In addition, $1,000 merit awards were given to:
    • Alma Beciragic, a doctorate degree candidate in Environmental Science and Engineering at the University of North Carolina.
    • Luis Almeyda, a master's degree candidate in Environmental Science at Stockton University in New Jersey.
    • Samuel Botts White, a doctorate degree candidate in Civil Engineering at New York University.

N.G. Kaul was a highly respected engineer who was the Director of the Division of Water from 1992 to 2002. He died in February, 2004. More information about the memorial scholarship is on the New York Water Environment Association website - a link is available under the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

2016 WaterSense Accomplishments Report Available

EPA's WaterSense labeled products have helped save 2.1 trillion gallons of water over the past decade. That's more than the amount of water used by all U.S. households for 75 days! Last year alone, WaterSense labeled products reduced water use in homes and businesses by an estimated 534 billion gallons. Check out the 2016 WaterSense Accomplishments Report to learn more - a link is available under the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

DEC has been a WaterSense partner since 2014.

Reminder: Application Deadline for Two Water Quality Grant Programs

Applications are being accepted until July 28, 2017 at 4:00 PM for the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant program and the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grants program (EPG). These grant programs are included in the NYS Regional Economic Development Councils Consolidated Funding Application (CFA). The WQIP program has $88 million available and the Engineering Planning Grant has up to $3 million available. A link to the CFA Resources is available at the Regional Economic Development Councils webpage under the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Funding Available to Advance Green Infrastructure Projects in the Great Lakes Basin

The Great Lakes Commission has announced the request for proposals (RFP) for the Great Lakes Emerging Champions Mini-Grant Program - a direct link to a webpage with the RFP and more information is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. Grants of up to $20,000 will support green infrastructure implementation in municipalities with fewer than 500,000 people. Mini-grant recipients will join the Great Lakes Green Infrastructure Champions Peer-to-Peer Mentoring Network and be paired with a mentor who has successfully implemented green infrastructure in their community.

Climate Smart Communities Grants

The Climate Smart Communities Grant Program is a competitive 50/50 matching grant program for municipalities to conduct climate change adaptation or mitigation implementation projects, or to undertake eligible actions as part of a strategy to achieve Climate Smart Communities Certification. Eligible implementation projects include those related to flood risk reduction. Applications are due by 4:00 PM on July 28, 2017.

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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