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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.

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.

Upcoming DEA Prescription Drug Collection

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Collections will be held at many locations around New York and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs. For more information, visit DEA's National Take Back Initiative webpage - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

For more information about drugs in water and DEC's work to keep drugs out of our water, visit DEC'S Drugs in New York's Waters webpage.

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program Application Deadline Extended

DEC has extended the application deadline for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program to May 5, 2017. This grant is intended to provide funding to land trusts, municipalities and soil and water conservation districts so they can acquire conservation easements or purchase land in riparian areas and restore riparian buffer vegetation for the purpose of reducing nutrient pollution.

Applications must be submitted through the Grants Gateway - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page. Log on and search for "Chesapeake Bay Watershed Grant Program".

Rockland County Starts First Manufacturer Funded Drug Take-Back Program on the East Coast

Rockland County has become the first county on the U.S. East Coast to require pharmaceutical manufacturers to fund and manage drug take-back programs, which will significantly increase the number of pharmacy collection locations in the County. The County's law also requires pharmacies with three or more U.S. stores to participate as take-back locations.

Unused medication that is not safely disposed of can reach bodies of water and adversely affect aquatic life. There are also concerns about unused pharmaceuticals getting into the wrong hands: prescription drug abuse has become epidemic in NYS. Providing a safe, convenient and effective way to dispose of unwanted pharmaceuticals can greatly curtail this public health and safety crisis. For more information about how and why to safely dispose of drugs, visit DEC's Drugs in New York's Waters webpage.

WaterSense Reminder

As an EPA WaterSense partner, DEC reminds you to take steps to save water year round. We all know about saving water at home, but office buildings, schools, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, and other commercial and institutional facilities also use a significant amount of water and energy in their daily operations. WaterSense provides facility managers, building owners, and other stakeholders with a variety of resources and initiatives to help them save water, energy, and operating costs. Check out these resources on the WaterSense Commercial Buildings webpage to start saving water at your office or business - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Reminder: Application Deadline for Pharmaceutical Take-Back Pilot Program

DEC reminds pharmacies to apply to participate in the new Pharmaceutical Take-Back Program that covers the costs of consumer drug collection boxes and disposal for two years. For more information about the program and to apply online, visit DEC's Pilot Pharmaceutical Take-back Program webpage. The deadline for applications is May 1, 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:

Current WI/PWL assessments updates are focused on waters in the Delaware River and Saint Lawrence River Basins, as well as concluding updates for New York City area waters. These updates are underway and expected to be released in the upcoming months.

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

Draft Multi-Sector General Permit Renewal Public Comment Period

The 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. Written comments are due by close of business on May 1, 2017. For more information and how to comment view the March 29 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Grant Funding Available for Mohawk River Watershed Projects

Approximately $200,000 in Mohawk River Watershed Grants Program funding is available to municipalities and not-for-profit organizations to implement the Mohawk River Basin Action Agenda. Examples of eligible projects include restoration of aquatic habitats, installation of green infrastructure projects to address stormwater runoff, right-sizing of culverts, restoration of natural stream conditions, and development of environmental education programs. Applications must be submitted online through the Grants Gateway by 3 p.m. on May 24, 2017 - a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Volunteers Wanted for Stream and River Monitoring

DEC is looking for volunteers to monitor streams and rivers as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project. Participate by: (1) serving as a local coordinator who coaches and coordinates their own team of WAVE participants (must attend a full day training); (2) sampling independently (must also attend a full day training); or (3) joining a local team led by a WAVE local coordinator (no training required).

This year, WAVE training sessions are being offered in the Susquehanna River, Lake Champlain, and Atlantic Ocean/Long Island Sound basins in May at the following locations: Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County, Broome Co. (May 10); Gilbert Lake State Park, Otsego Co. (May 11); Connetquot River State Park Preserve, Suffolk Co. (May 17); Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge, Suffolk Co. (May 18); Dwyer Memorial Park, Cortland Co. (May 23); SUNY Plattsburgh in partnership with the Lake Champlain Research Institute, Clinton Co. (May 30); Willsboro Visitor Center, Essex Co. (May 31).

For more information or to register for a training session, contact the WAVE Coordinator.

Proposed Updates to Streamline Environmental Quality Reviews - Comment Period

DEC has released for public comment proposed amendments to State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) regulations. The changes will streamline and strengthen the State's environmental review process by: expanding the actions not subject to further review, known as Type II actions; modifying certain thresholds for actions deemed more likely to require the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS); making scoping of an EIS mandatory rather than optional; and making the acceptance procedures for a draft EIS more consistent.

For more information, including how to comment, view the February 8 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.

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