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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.

Data Solicitation for 2016 CWA Section 303(d) List

As part of the development of the 2016 New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters, the public is invited to provide existing and readily available water quality data and information. This data solicitation period began and was announced in the spring and will close on September 30, 2015. NYSDEC will then compile a Draft Section 303 (d) List, which will be made available for public review and comment in January 2016. States are required to submit their next Section 303(d) Lists to USEPA by April 1, 2016. Additional information regarding the 2016 Section 303(d) List process can be found on the NYSDEC website.

Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices has been posted today, August 28, on the DEC Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage.

This week, 19 waterbodies were added to the notification list, and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 204 waterbodies sampled in the last four to five weeks through DEC monitoring programs, volunteers and public reports.

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

How many lakes have been sampled by DEC monitoring programs this year?

DEC's monitoring programs, Lake Classification and Inventory Survey (LCI) and Citizens Statewide Lake Assessment Program (CSLAP), have collected water quality data, including information about blue-green algae blooms at 175 waterbodies this year. The complete list of lakes sampled by these programs is posted on the Blue-green Algal Bloom Notice web page and is updated weekly.

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.

DEC and DOS Announce $9.4 Million for Flooding and Resiliency Projects in the Mohawk Valley

DEC and the Department of State have announced that the state will provide $9.4 million for flood resiliency and reconstruction projects in Oneida, Herkimer and Montgomery counties.

These projects are in response to the 2013 flooding of the Mohawk River in Oneida, Herkimer and Montgomery counties and will make Mohawk Valley communities more resilient and better equipped to mitigate the risks of loss and damage associated with future flooding. DEC will also install a water quality monitoring station on the Mohawk River at Ilion and develop strategies to restore water quality in the Utica portion of the river.

For the list of specific projects, see DEC's August 20 press release.

DEC Issues Updated Water Well Information & Consumer Protection Guide

DEC recently updated and posted a Water Well Consumer Protection Guide (PDF, 231 KB) on the Water Well Contractor Program webpage. The guide provides information for current and potential well owners on safety measures to help assure a properly constructed water well.

Safeguards well owners should be aware of include contractor registration and certification, consumer protection measures, as well as state construction rules and regulations. The guide also provides other helpful water well information links from federal, state, and industry organizations.

If you're a well owner, don't forget to have your well tested regularly! (The link to the Department of Health's Residential Water Quality Testing recommendations is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section in the right hand column of this page).

WI/PWL Water Quality Assessment Updates

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

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

In addition the WI/PWL webpages are being modified to make it easier to find Fact Sheets for specific waterbodies of interest. These changes have now been completed for the Oswego River/Finger Lakes Basin.

DEC Issues Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit for New York City

On Friday, July 31st 2015, DEC announced the issuance of a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit for stormwater discharges from New York City's municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). The permit includes conditions to better manage urban sources of stormwater runoff and help protect and improve water quality as part of a comprehensive, integrated planning approach.

This SPDES permit includes measures to address and control the various types of stormwater pollutants, including oil, grease, sediment, litter, pesticides, fertilizers and animal waste in the MS4. Under the permit, New York City is required to develop a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) Plan. The SWMP will provide significant and meaningful reduction of pollutants entering storm sewers and being discharged from NYC's MS4 system due to stormwater runoff in urban areas.

Palmer Lake TMDL Approved

DEC has issued a final Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for phosphorus in Palmer Lake (Putnam County).

Visit DEC's Clean Water Plans webpage to download a PDF version of the TMDL. Palmer Lake is listed under the "Small Lakes/Phosphorus" header near the bottom of the page.

The TMDL identifies deficient near-lake septic systems to be the primary source of excessive phosphorus loading to the lake and recommends connection of these properties to an existing wastewater treatment facility to address the water quality impairment.

NYS Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training

The NYSDEC Floodplain Management Section is offering training on floodplain management, FEMA levee mapping protocols and certification requirements, and the coastal erosion hazard area program. These free training sessions will be held throughout the state under a FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant. They are designed for code enforcement and building officials, floodplain administrators, local elected officials, planners and engineers.

The full day floodplain management training will be offered in most of the state's counties. This training session will provide a detailed overview of FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program and review the community's role and responsibilities in administering this program on a local level. Half day training on FEMA's levee mapping requirements and techniques will be offered in areas of the state that have levees. Training on DEC's Coastal Erosion Hazard Area (CEHA) program will be offered in Long Island, New York City and Great Lakes areas that have CEHA zones.

Please check the Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training webpage periodically to find out when these free training sessions will come to a county near you. If you need more specific information or have questions, please email Tim Avery at tavery@fisherassoc.com.

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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