Department of Environmental Conservation

D E C banner

Division of Water

Mark Klotz, Director
Tom Cullen, Assistant Director

Sign up for DEC Delivers

Enter email address:

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.

Pledge to Use Less Water All Year

This year, make the resolution to save water! Take the EPA WaterSense "I'm for Water" pledge and sign up to receive tips on how to use less water (and spend less on your utility bills!) so you can stay on track all year (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page).

Remember that all of New York State remains under a drought watch. You can also visit DEC's Saving Water Makes Good Sense webpage for tips on how to conserve water all year.

Reminder: Conserve and Protect Our Water Poster Contest Deadline is January 20

The deadline for submitting posters for the "Conserve and Protect Our Water" poster contest is Friday, January 20, 2017. The contest, sponsored by DEC and New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA), is open to all middle school students (grades 6-8). Fourteen winners have the honor of having their artwork in a calendar, which will be distributed across New York State.

Applications Available for 2017 N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship

In honor of the former Director of the Division of Water, the N.G. Kaul Memorial Scholarship Fund will again be offering $1,000 to $3,000 in scholarships to students pursuing graduate or doctoral degrees in environmental/civil engineering or environmental science concentrating on water quality who show a commitment to government service.

N.G. Kaul was a highly respected engineer, an immigrant from India who fulfilled the American dream of opportunity realized. He had a distinguished career in public service, first with New York City and then with the New York State DEC, rising to the position of Director of the Division of Water in 1992. That service was capped, upon his retirement in 2002, by his appointment as Director of the USEPA effort to implement the dredging of PCB-polluted sediments in the Hudson River. He died in February of 2004 after a brief but courageous battle with cancer.

Scholarship applications are available on the NYWEA Scholarship webpage (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Completed applications must be submitted no later than February 28, 2017.

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 in the upcoming months.

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

Proposed Living Shorelines Guidance Document Public Comment Period

DEC has announced a proposed guidance document that emphasizes natural and nature-based solutions to better protect New Yorkers and the state's coastline and help guide communities to produce living shorelines in New York's marine district. The proposed guidance encourages the appropriate use of natural shoreline protection measures in place of hardened or man-made approaches to coastal erosion controls. Public comments are due by February 8, 2017. For more information and how to comment, view the January 4 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Availability of Grants for Great Lakes Basin Projects Announced

Sustain Our Great Lakes, a public-private partnership consisting of federal agencies and environmental organizations, has announced that up to $7.8 million in grants is available for stream habitat improvements, coastal wetland habitat improvements, and green infrastructure projects in the Great Lakes basin. The Request for Proposals and details about the grant program can be found on the Sustain Our Great Lakes website (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page). Full proposals are due by February 21, 2017 (the pre-proposal stage from previous years has been eliminated for 2017).

A webinar about this funding opportunity will be held on January 10, 2017 at 11:00 AM. A registration link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Snow Disposal TOGS Available for Public Review and Comment

The Division of Water has developed a new Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) document 5.1.11 "Snow Disposal," which is now available for public review. This document provides guidance and best management practices on how to minimize water pollution associated with snow disposal. Written comments are due by close of business on January 31, 2017. View the December 28 Environmental Notice Bulletin for instructions on how to comment.

Annual Black River Initiative Newsletter Available

The Tug Hill Commission, in collaboration with DEC's Great Lakes Program and other organizations in the Black River watershed, released the annual Black River Initiative newsletter. The newsletter highlights efforts to improve water quality, natural resource management, recreation and resiliency in the Black River Watershed, including the Black River Nine Element Watershed Plan. Visit the Tug Hill Commission's Black River Initiative webpage to view this year's newsletter (an offsite link is available in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website."

DEC's First Staff Profile Video Features DOW Staff

The Division of Water is proud to announce that the first video in DEC's new "On the Front Lines" staff profile series features Dam Safety Section staff Alon Dominitz and Jennifer Ross. Check out the video (link leaves DEC website) to learn more about the lives and crucial daily work of these two Division of Water engineers. Stay tuned for more profiles of other DEC employees.

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 February 3, 2017.

Submit written comments to:

Ethan Sullivan
NYSDEC
Division of Water
625 Broadway - 4th Floor
Albany, NY 12233-3505

or by e-mail to Stormwater_info@dec.ny.gov.

If submitting comments by e-mail, please include "Comments on the Draft Renewal of the 2017 MS4 GP" in the subject line.

See the December 14 Environmental Notice Bulletin for more information.

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".

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.

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


More about Division of Water :