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Implementation and Permitting

Implementation & Permitting for NY's Waters

Once the monitoring, assessment and planning stages of the Division of Water's (DOW) watershed management cycle are complete, the process moves into the implementation and permitting stage. The State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit program is a primary way the DOW implements its water protection and restoration activities.

Monitoring information, assessment reports and public input all help create watershed plans. DOW permit writers issue SPDES permits to point- and non-point sources of pollution to ensure that a waterbody's best use is maintained and to protect watersheds from wastewater and stormwater pollution. Even though SPDES permits address specific sources of pollution, they are written with an entire watershed in mind. This means that responsibility for meeting a watershed-wide water quality goal does not necessarily fall entirely on one source of pollution.

While the SPDES program focuses on point sources of pollution, the DOW also encourages water quality protection and restoration activities that address nonpoint sources of pollution. The Water Quality Improvement Project grant program is an avenue used by the DOW to fund projects that address both point and nonpoint sources of pollution.

DOW Implementation and Permitting Programs:

  • State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System -- The SPDES program controls wastewater and wet weather-related discharges from point- and non-point sources in New York.
    • Wastewater -- The SPDES program issues permits to control discharges from municipal, industrial, commercial, and some privately owned residential wastewater treatment plants.
    • Stormwater -- Stormwater can collect and transport pollutants to surface waters. The SPDES program issues stormwater permits for industrial activities, municipal separate storm sewer systems, and construction activities.
    • Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations -- CAFOs have live animals, food, manure, dead animals, and production operations in a concentrated location. The SPDES program issues permits to control stormwater runoff and prevent discharges from these locations.
    • Vessel General Permit -- Required for commercial vessels longer than 79 feet, the VGP limits discharges including deck runoff, bilge water, gray water, chain locker effluent, and ballast water.
  • Water Quality Improvement Project Program -- The WQIP program is a DOW grant program that funds projects that reduce polluted runoff, improve water quality and restore habitat in New York's waterbodies.

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  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3507
    518-402-8267
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