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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.

Drug Enforcement Administration to Collect Prescription Drugs

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a nationwide prescription drug collection on Saturday, September 27, 2014, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Collections will be held at many locations around New York and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs.

How do I find a collection location near me?

Collection locations are posted on the DEA National Take Back Initiative webpage (a direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section in the right-hand column of this page).

In addition to the DEA collection on September 27, other collections are scheduled in many New York counties. Visit the DEC Household Drug Collection Schedule webpage to see if a collection is scheduled in your area.

More about drugs in New York's waters

For more information about drugs in our water, visit the DEC Drugs in New York's Waters webpage.

Blue-Green Algae Bloom Notices

New information about lakes with blue-green algae bloom notices was posted on DEC's Blue-Green Algal Bloom Notices webpage on Friday, August 22.

This week, 6 waterbodies were added to the notification list and blooms were reported in several locations in the state. This information is provided from about 168 waterbodies sampled in the last two weeks by 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, scum and discolored water. If you see it, avoid it and report it!

How do blue-green algae blooms affect lakes?
  • Blue-green algae can form large thick mats that block sunlight needed for other beneficial algae to grow. The increase in one type of algae also reduces the quality and quantity of food resources available to aquatic life.
  • The toxins that can be produced by blue-green algae may be harmful to fish and other organisms, including people and pets.
  • As the algae in a bloom dies and decomposes, the amount of oxygen in the water decreases and can threaten the health of fish and other aquatic life. Thick blooms are also unpleasant to look at and can affect swimming and other recreational use of the lake.
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.

Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park TMDL Public Comment Period

DEC has released a draft Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for Acid Impaired Lakes in the Adirondack Park and will accept comments until close of business on September 12, 2014. The draft TMDL addresses 89 lakes and ponds in the Adirondacks.

How do I get a copy of the draft TMDL?

View the draft TMDL on the DEC TMDL webpage. Look for the "Adirondack Acid Rain/Waters/Acid Neutralizing Capacity" heading.

How do I comment on the draft TMDL?

Comments on the draft Acid Impaired Lakes TMDL may be submitted to the contact listed in the August 13, 2014 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Major Suffolk County Coastal Storm Resiliency Project to Proceed

Governor Cuomo announced on August 11 that DEC has signed legal agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Suffolk County, and authorized $68 million in State financing, as part of a coastal storm risk reduction project along Suffolk County's Atlantic Ocean Coast.

The project, due to begin in September, will include the construction of dunes and beaches in the 19-mile stretch between Fire Island Inlet and Moriches Inlet. Suffolk County will employ the State funding to acquire parcels and permanent easements on Fire Island to facilitate placement of the protective dunes. This money will be reimbursed to DEC by the Army Corps as the project is 100% federally funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (also know as the Sandy Relief Bill).

More information is in Governor Cuomo's August 11 press release. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

New York State Great Lakes Water Supply

No harmful blue-green algae blooms (HABs) that have been identified in the waters of western Lake Erie have affected New York State drinking water and bathing beaches. Monitoring and surveillance of the New York portions of Lake Erie, as well as the Niagara River and Lake Ontario, have revealed no such blooms. For more information about HABs, and an overview of HABs and drinking water concerns, including concerns about Lake Erie, go to DEC's Harmful Algae Bloom web page.

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.

New HRECOS Monitoring Station on the Mohawk River

The Hudson River Environmental Conditions Observing System (HRECOS) has added a new station at the Rexford Bridge on the Mohawk River in Schenectady that will offer real-time information about river conditions.

The new continuous monitoring station will benefit baseline modeling, science, and education in the Mohawk Valley, and will support work towards satisfying the overall water quality goals of the Mohawk River Basin Program Action Agenda. This station was established with collaborative efforts between DEC and the U.S. Geological Survey.


HRECOS is a network of real-time monitoring stations along the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. The stations are geographically distributed from Utica on the Mohawk, to the New York/New Jersey harbor at the mouth of the Hudson. HRECOS monitors river conditions every 15 minutes. Real-time data can be found on the HRECOS website. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's Website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

Comment Period for SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity Renewal

DEC is making the draft renewal of the SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (GP-0-15-002) and Fact Sheet available for public review. GP-0-15-002 will replace GP-0-10-001 when it expires on January 31, 2015.

Updates to the New York State Stormwater Management Design Manual are also available for public review. The updates are limited to Chapters 3, 4, 6, 9, 10 and the Glossary.

Copies of the draft General Permit, Fact Sheet and updated chapters of the Design Manual with changes highlighted are available on DEC's Stormwater Public Review Documents webpage.

Instructions for submitting comments are in the July 30 Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Mohawk River Basin Program Partners with Schoharie River Center for Environmental Education Programs

The Mohawk River Basin Program has partnered with the Schoharie River Center to expand its volunteer Environmental Study Teams' (EST) water quality monitoring efforts.

These teams will train middle and high school students to monitor water quality and conduct watershed analysis. Participants will collaborate with DEC's Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) program for the collection of water data from ten sites in the Mohawk basin.

Five-day ecology study adventure programs will be offered to introduce students to what the Environmental Study Teams will do. The first program was offered last week in Fort Plain (Montgomery County) and had 12 attendees, who are anticipated to comprise the first EST chapter in Fort Plain.

More information on the Environmental Study Teams, including how to register for the summer programs, can be found on the Schoharie River Center website. A direct link is in the "Links Leaving DEC's website" section of the right-hand column of this page.

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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