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For Release: Wednesday, June 3, 2015

DEC Accepting Public Comment on Sewage Pollution Right to Know Regulations

Public Can Now Enroll For NY-Alert to Receive Notice of Sewage Discharges

Four Public Information Sessions to Be Held

The public is invited to submit comments on regulations to implement the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law from June 17 - July 31 and can now sign up for NY-Alert to receive notice of sewage discharges, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. DEC will hold four public information sessions to provide background on the regulations.

"The Sewage Right to Know Law is a critical tool for protecting public health by requiring municipalities to report sewage discharges," said Commissioner Joe Martens. "In developing the NY-Alert notifications for sewer discharges, DEC strived to find a way to provide New Yorkers with free and easy access to this information while minimizing the burden to municipalities. With the NY-Alert system in place, information can now be provided to residents in a timely manner."

In addition to the regulations, DEC will soon accept applications from municipalities for $500,000 in Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) monitoring technology grants. These grants will help small and medium-sized communities to monitor and report combined sewer overflows.

"The Senate included funding in this year's state budget to facilitate the implementation of the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law without adding yet another unfunded, state-imposed fiscal burden on local governments. I appreciate the department's ongoing cooperation and efforts to develop this NY-Alert notification system. It will ensure convenient, timely public access to this vital information and minimize the expense to our local municipalities," said Senator Tom O'Mara, chairman of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee.

Under the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law, publicly owned treatment works and publicly owned sewer systems are required to notify DEC within two hours of a sewage discharge. Through the NY-Alert system, municipalities will make the information available to the general public and neighboring municipalities. DEC partnered with the NYS Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services to enhance the electronic NY-Alert notification system so that reporting is free of charge to municipalities and the broadcasting of sewage spill alerts is rapidly available. NY-Alert is used by New York State agencies and municipalities for public safety messaging.

During the four public information sessions the public will receive an overview of the Sewage Right to Know Law, how the regulations implement the law, the benefits of the NY-Alert system and how it will be used to transmit information as well as the Combined Sewer Overflow Wet Weather Advisory protocol. At the public information sessions, residents and municipalities will receive assistance in signing up at no cost to receive sewage discharges alerts via text, email or phone from the NY-Alert system. For instructions on how to receive alerts about sewage spills through NY-Alert, visit DEC YouTube video.

DEC has filed the proposed regulations with the Department of State, published them in the Environmental Notice Bulletin on the DEC website. In two weeks they will be published in the State Register followed by a 45-day comment period from June 17 through July 31.

DEC is holding four public information sessions, see below for details.

Location Date Address Time
Albany Tuesday, July 7 NYS DEC
Public Assembly Room 129
625 Broadway
Albany, NY 12233
Meeting will start at 7:00 PM
Rochester Wednesday, July 15 Monroe Community College
Monroe B Warshof Conference Center
1000 East Henrietta Road
Rochester, NY 14623
Meeting will start at 7:00 PM
New Paltz Thursday, July 16 SUNY Ulster County Community College
Vanderlyn Hall, College Lounge
Room: VAN-203491
Cottekill Road
Stone Ridge, NY 12484
Meeting will start at 7:00 PM
Utica Tuesday, July 21 NYS DEC
Conference Room A & B
207 Genesee St.
Utica, NY 13501
Meeting will start at 7:00 PM

Information about additional public meeting locations and registration is available in the June 17, 2015 ENB.

Written public comments will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. on July 31, 2015. People can submit written comments by email to or by regular mail to: NYS DEC, Division of Water, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3500. Written comments can also be submitted at the public information sessions. All documents and related information pertaining to these proposed rule makings are available on DEC's website. If you do not have internet access, please write to the address above or call (518) 402-8233.

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