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POSS Technical Guidance

The Sewage Pollution Right to Know (SPRTK) law imposes new reporting requirements on publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs). This web page is dedicated to provide guidance materials for POSSs, as well as technical documents on the operation and maintenance of sewage collection systems.

POSS Technical Guidance

In addition to reporting sewage discharges, POSSs are also required to properly operate and maintain their wastewater collection system. This section contains links to several web sites created by various non-profit environmental assistance organizations to assist POSSs in proper operation and maintenance (O & M) procedures.

EPA's Wastewater Collection System Toolbox - This web site developed by EPA contains many valuable resources related to proper O & M of POSS systems. Documents included range from manhole and pipe assessments to resiliency trainings to public educational materials.

Water Environment Federation's Wastewater Collection and Treatment Operations Resource Center - This website includes information for both POTWs and POSSs, but has many informative technical documents.

New England Interstate's Wastewater and Onsite Systems Web Page - In addition to O & M material, this website also includes information on the voluntary collection system operator certification program.

American Water Works Association Wastewater Collection Systems - The AWWA website requires users to log in, but provides free training materials and guidance.

New York Water Environment Association's Voluntary Collection System Certification - NYWEA offers a voluntary collection system certification for staff. This program helps to assure that wastewater collection systems and equipment are operated and maintained by qualified staff who possess a high level of competence in the wastewater collection field.

New York State has more than 35,000 miles of sewers, and DEC estimates that approximately 40% of all sewers are more than 60 years old. In addition, the older a collection system is, the more likely it is to experience sewage release events. Nearly 64% of sewers more than 60 years old experience overflow events. Because of current conditions of wastewater infrastructure in NYS, proper O & M is critical to ensure the health and safety of New Yorkers.

NY-Alert Registration Documents

The SPRTK law requires POSSs to report any sewage discharges from the public wastewater collection system to DEC and the Department of Health (DOH) within 2 hours of discovery of discharge, and to adjoining municipalities and the general public within 4 hours of discovery. In addition, POSSs must register with DEC and will be assigned a unique identification number. This is not a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit number. This is an identification number to allow DEC to understand the flow of wastewater from satellite wastewater collection systems to receiving publicly owned treatment works (POTWs), or wastewater treatment plants. This identification number also allows DEC to keep an accurate database of registered POSSs and the receiving POTW wastewater is sent to be treated.

To assist POSSs to comply with SPRTK, DEC has developed a customized reporting system to report sewage discharges. This is an online, electronic reporting system called NY-Alert. When a POSS registers with DEC, access to NY-Alert is authorized. Individuals that are authorized by the POSS to use NY-Alert to report sewage discharges may log in to access the reporting wizard and submit reports to DEC.

The POSS registration application can be downloaded below. A POSS must have the principal elected official complete the application and mail the original signed copy to the address included on the application. In addition, the POSS must designate individuals to become authorized notifiers in NY-Alert. These users will be granted access to NY-Alert.

Each authorized staff person needs to complete and sign the Notifier Agreement (included in the application) and to review the Terms and Conditions (PDF, 71 KB) for use of the NY-Alert System. Instructions to complete and submit the application are included in the application document. If more than two notifiers will be authorized, print and complete the needed number of Notifier Agreement pages.

Automatic Notifications

In Part C of the application, the applicant may enter the contact information of the adjoining municipalities to receive automatic notifications; if additional pages are needed, complete the Automatic Notifications Supplement for SPRTK Act (PDF, 51 KB). If updates need to be made to the automatic notification groups in NY-Alert, please use the Change to Automatic Notifications form below. The principal executive officer or ranking elected official must complete and sign the form. Additional copies of the form may be made as necessary.

DEC requires a signed copy to be mailed to the address below. The form may be filled out electronically, then signed and mailed in.

Bureau of Water Compliance
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-3506

Change of Notifier Form

If a notifier authorized to use NY-Alert must be removed from or added to the system, use the Change of Notifier form below. The principal executive officer or ranking elected official must complete and sign the first page, and list any notifiers to add or remove. For a notifier to be authorized, each individual must complete and sign a Notifier Agreement page. Additional copies of the Notifier Agreement may be made as necessary. Ensure that each individual authorized to use NY-Alert reviews the Terms and Conditions, located above.

DEC requires a signed copy to be mailed to the address below. The form may be filled out electronically, then signed and mailed in.

Bureau of Water Compliance
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233-3506

NY-Alert Guidance Materials and Videos

The documents and videos are intended to help authorized individuals to send sewage discharge notifications using the NY-Alert system. This page will be updated with more guidance videos as they are developed. All video links go to DEC's YouTube Videos.

Notifier Manual for Reporting Sewage Discharges (PDF, 1.3 MB) -- step by step instructions on how to use NY-Alert to report sewage discharges.

Instructions on how to report sewage discharges using NY-Alert -- this video is a step by step guide to help notifiers use the NY-Alert system to report sewage discharges.

Transcript for the how to report sewage discharges (PDF, 50 KB) video.