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New York's abundant rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters are used for recreation, fishing, tourism, agriculture and manufacturing. Dams and other infrastructure help us manage our waters.

Aerial view of river

Though plentiful, the water resources of the state are threatened by chemical contaminants and other pollutants from a wide range of sources.

The Division of Water provides various programs that track the quality of the waters, identify and investigate sources of pollution, control these sources and develop strategies to address water quality threats. DEC programs regulate and provide guidance on water supply withdrawal. DEC also manages floodplains and coastal areas to reduce flood risk to protect New Yorkers from coastal and inland flooding.

Water Webpages

This page provides links to information on topics related to programs for the management and protection of the waters of New York State, including:

  • Water Quality Information (monitoring, water quality assessment, impaired waters, Waterbody Inventory/Priority Waterbodies List, research)
  • Water Quality Concerns (stormwater, sewage overflows, CAFOs, drugs in water, nutrients, wastewater infrastructure, acid rain, mercury, invasive species, harmful algal blooms)
  • Keeping Waters Clean (nonpoint sources, lawn fertilizer, TMDLs, green infrastructure, watershed plans, wastewater treatment, No Discharge Zones)
  • SPDES Permits (municipal wastewater permits, industrial permits, CAFO permits, sewers, Vessel General Permit)
  • Managing Water Resources (water withdrawal, water conservation, flood protection, floodplain management, coastal erosion, dam safety, groundwater, reservoir releases, stream gages)
Map of NYS showing all major watersheds
  • Learn more about the water programs and how DEC uses a watershed management approach to protect and conserve water resources.
  • Statewide water programs are often supplemented by specific watershed programs focused on protecting and restoring waters in a particular drainage area.
  • The goal of compliance and enforcement is to ensure consistent, statewide understanding and implementation of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) program in order to promote water quality and public health in New York State.
  • The Division of Water has a number of grant programs available.
  • DEC's regulations web page lists New York State Register and Official Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations of the State of New York (NYCRR).
  • The Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) of memos provides information on program delegation, special assignments, and explanation and technical detail for day-to-day operation of the Division of Water responsibilities

Information is available for communities that deal with significant rain events and high flows due to wet weather.

What's New in the Division of Water?

This section 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.

DEC and DOH Announce New "Know Your NY Water" Website to Increase Public Awareness About Water Resources

DEC and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) have launched a new website, Know Your NY Water, created as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's statewide Water Quality Rapid Response Team efforts, established in 2016. The website will provide New Yorkers with information about the state's public drinking water and the health of New York's abundant lakes, rivers, and streams, as well as waters used for recreation and habitat protection. For more information, view DEC's August 2 press release.

NY Sea Grant and DEC Award $200,155 to Nine Great Lakes Action Agenda Projects

DEC, in partnership with New York Sea Grant, has announced more than $200,000 grant awards for nine community-based projects through the Great Lakes Basin Small Grants Program to enhance community, ecological, and economic resiliency throughout the Great Lakes watershed. Funding comes from the state Environmental Protection Fund's Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Program and supports the application of ecosystem-based management to complex environmental problems in order to conserve, protect, and enhance irreplaceable Great Lakes natural resources. For more information, including a description of awarded projects, view DEC's August 2 press release.

Governor Cuomo Announces Availability of $350 Million for Water System Upgrades Statewide

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that $350 million is now available through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant Program for municipalities with infrastructure projects that protect public health or improve water quality.

Municipalities are eligible to apply for funding for:

  • Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Wastewater Infrastructure Projects: Depending on the size of the project, applicants may receive funding for up to 25 percent of net eligible project costs, or a maximum of $25 million, whichever is less.
  • Water Infrastructure Improvement Act Drinking Water Infrastructure Projects: Applicants may receive funding for up to 60 percent of net eligible project costs, or $3 million, whichever is less.
  • Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grants Clean Water and Drinking Water Projects: Applicants may receive funding for up to 40 percent of net eligible project costs, or $10 million, whichever is less.

For more information and to apply, visit the Environmental Facilities Corporation's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act web page. The application deadline is September 13, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

Harmful Algal Bloom Notifications

Visit NYHABS, DEC's HABs notification map, to view locations of current freshwater HABs in New York State. Each yellow dot on the map represents a HAB reported in the past two weeks. Click on a dot for more information, including the date it was reported, the waterbody name, and pictures. Click on the arrow at the bottom of the screen to view a list of reported HABs.

Know it. Avoid it. Report it.

If you see a HAB, please use the new reporting form to submit a report to NYHABS.

Because waterbodies may have HABs that have not been reported to DEC, we recommend avoiding contact with floating mats, scums and discolored water.

If you, your family, or pet has been in contact with a HAB, please rinse with clean water and report any symptoms to your local health department.

Data Solicitation for 2020 CWA Section 303(d) List

The public is invited to provide existing and readily available water quality data and information for the 2020 New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters. This data solicitation period runs through September 27, 2019. View the May 1 Environmental Notice Bulletin for more information and how to submit data.

Visit DEC's NYS Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters webpage to learn more about the 303(d) list.

Division of Water 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.

Division of Water Bureaus

Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety

The Bureau of Flood Protection and Dam Safety cooperates with federal, state, regional, and local partners to protect lives and property from floods, coastal erosion and dam failures through floodplain management and both structural and non-structural means.

  • Coastal Erosion and Floodplain Management Section - The Coastal Erosion branch of this section works to reduce coastal erosion and storm damage to protect lives, natural resources, and properties through structural and non-structural means. The Floodplain Management branch is responsible for reducing flood risk to life and property through proper management of activities including development in flood hazard areas, and review and development of revised flood maps.
  • Dam Safety Section - Responsible for reviewing repairs and modifications to dams, and assuring that dam owners operate and maintain dams in a safe condition through inspections, technical reviews, enforcement, and emergency planning.
  • Flood Control Projects Section - Responsible for reducing flood risk to life and property through construction, operation and maintenance of flood control facilities.

Bureau of Water Assessment Management

The mission of the Bureau of Water Assessment Management is to monitor the waters of the state, review data and information to evaluate these waters, and report on the quality and the ability of these waters to support uses. The Bureau also conducts research to better define the nature of pollutants, sources and impacts on waters and their uses, and provides support for the development of management strategies to enhance and protect these waters.

  • Streams Monitoring and Assessment Section
  • Lakes Monitoring and Assessment Section
  • Standards and Analytical Support Section
  • Water Assessment and Implementation Section

Bureau of Water Permits

  • Central Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Region 4; SPDES General Permits for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) (ECL GP-0-16-001 / CWA GP-0-19-001), Private, Commercial, or Institutional (PCI) Facilities discharging 1,000 to 10,000 gallons per day of sanitary waste to groundwater (GP-0-15-001), Pesticide Applications to Surface Waters of New York State (GP-0-16-005), and Vessel Discharges for most commercial vessels greater than 79 feet in length that operate in US waters; NYS Design Standards For Intermediate Sized Wastewater Treatment Systems; Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2).
  • South Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Region 1; SPDES Phase II General Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (GP-0-15-002), Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) (GP-0-15-003); Multi Sector General Permit (MSGP) for Stormwater Discharges associated with Industrial Activity except construction activity (GP-0-17-004); DEC stormwater training; Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).
  • West Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Regions 2,3,8, and 9; asset management; disinfection.
  • North Permits Section - Covers SPDES permits in DEC Regions 5,6, and 7; Environmental Benefit Permit Strategy (EBPS).

Bureau of Water Compliance

  • State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Compliance Information Section - Covers SPDES and facility information; Discharge Monitoring Reports (DMRs); MS4 General Permit compliance; Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP) compliance; wastewater treatment plant operator certification.
  • Upstate Compliance Assurance Section - Covers DEC Regions 4 - 9; SPDES/Water Integrated Compliance Strategy System (WICSS) compliance; enforcement coordination; compliance liaison with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Metropolitan Compliance Assurance Section - Covers DEC Regions 1 - 3; New York City wastewater treatment facility compliance and enforcement; compliance liaison with EPA
  • Fiscal Planning and Management Section - Covers EPA Core Grants (PPG, 604b); EPA Wastershed Grants (Chesapeake Bay, Lake Champlain, Great Lakes, Long Island Sound); FEMA Grants; USGS Contracts; State Assistance and Service Contracts, MOU's, Cooperative Agreements; Attachment As; Budget & Spending Plan Management; Purchasing/Procurement Equipment - Contractual Services

Bureau of Water Resource Management

The Bureau of Water Resource Management works to protect, manage, and conserve New York State's groundwater and surface water supply sources, develop management strategies to enhance and protect these waters, and protect both the groundwater and surface water quality in the New York City Watershed and other major watersheds. The Bureau's work includes programs for water withdrawal permitting, which includes analysis and approval of aquifer (pumping) tests and reservoir capacity; drought management; Great Lakes water withdrawal registration; statewide annual water withdrawal reporting; groundwater; interstate water supply partnerships; reservoir releases; water conservation; and water well drillers registration. The Bureau provides geotechnical assistance to local, state, federal, and industrial/commercial entities, and has partnered with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for over 35 years to conduct a cooperative statewide aquifer mapping program. The Bureau also manages DEC's water quality and watershed protection programs for the New York City water supply system, including Federal Safe Drinking Water Act grants, compliance for SPDES permits within the watershed, and technical assistance and training for wastewater treatment facility operators within the watershed. The Bureau works with stakeholders and partners to improve water quality, provides funding for Water Quality Improvement Projects, and conducts outreach and communication activities. The Bureau's responsibilities also include developing and managing a geographic information system (GIS) that provides information and data about New York State's waters.

  • Water Quantity Management Section
  • Watershed Section A
  • Watershed Section B
  • Watershed Section C

More about Water:

  • Facts about New York State Waters - Information about the waters of New York State.
  • Public Review Documents - This page provides documents and tools available for public review.
  • Water Quality Information - Programs to monitor the waters of the state, evaluate data and information against standards and criteria to assess the quality of these waters, conduct research to better define the nature of pollutants, sources and impacts on waters and their uses, and develop management strategies to enhance and protect these waters.
  • Water Quality Concerns - Links to DEC programs that address water quality concerns and issues.
  • Sewage Pollution Right to Know - Information about the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Law.
  • Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) - Combined sewer systems are sewers that are designed to collect storm water runoff, domestic sewage, and industrial wastewater in the same pipe.
  • Sanitary Sewer Overflow (SSO) - Information about sanitary sewer overflows, including, common causes and abatement strategies.
  • Drugs in New York's Waters - Don't flush unwanted medications - dispose of them safely and take advantage of DEC's pilot pharmaceutical take-back program drop boxes near you.
  • Operation and Maintenance of Sewer Collection Systems - Information on sewers and sewer use.
  • Stormwater - This page provides information about storm water related issues.
  • Keeping Water Clean - DEC programs that manage sources of water pollution, reduce specific pollutants, and improve and protect water quality.
  • Green Infrastructure for Wet Weather - Information about using green infrastructure practices to manage stormwater.
  • SPDES Compliance & Enforcement - Recently Revised TOGS 1.4.2 on SPDES Compliance and Enforcement and Responsiveness Summary to Public comments.
  • Managing Water Resources - DEC programs that are aimed at managing dams and other infrastructure, water supply, and protecting New Yorkers from coastal and inland flooding..
  • Pesticide General Permit - Pesticide General Permit GP-0-16-005, is required and authorizes coverage for point source discharges resulting from any application of a registered biological or chemical pesticide labeled for aquatic uses directly to, in, or over a surface water of New York. This supplements requirements in Article 15 and Article 24 permits.
  • DMR Manual for Submitting and Completing the Discharge Monitoring Report - Discharge Monitoring Report guidance and frequently asked questions.
  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3500
    518-402-8233
    Send us an email
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions