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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

In addition to the pages listed in the left column, these webpages lead to information about water resources in New York State:

Map of NYS showing all major watersheds

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.

SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity Issued

DEC has issued the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (GP-0-20-001). Upon its effective date of January 29, 2020, GP-0-20-001 replaces the previous general permit, GP-0-15-002, which expired on January 28, 2020. DEC announced this general permit in the January 29 issue of the Environmental Notice Bulletin.

Copies of the final GP-0-20-001, fact sheet, and responsiveness summary are available on DEC's Stormwater Permit for Construction Activity web page. This web page also describes how to gain coverage under GP-0-20-001 for planned construction activities.

Water Well Contractor Program Registration Open

DEC's Water Well Contractor Program is currently accepting applications for the Certificate of Registration for the period April 1, 2020 through March 31, 2021. Registration is required by March 31 each year for all water well contractors who drill or repair water wells in New York State. The on-site contractor must be certified for the work that they are conducting (well drilling and/or pump installation). A Preliminary Notice must be filed prior to drilling a well and a Water Well Completion Report must be filed upon completion of water well drilling. For additional information, contact Water Well Program staff at 877-472-2619 or NYSWaterWells@dec.ny.gov.

Annual Water Withdrawal Reporting

The DEC Water Withdrawal Reporting Program is currently receiving water withdrawal reporting data for 2019. Reporting is required by March 31 each year for non-agricultural facilities that have a withdrawal capacity of 100,000 gallons or more per day and agricultural facilities that use 100,000 gallons or more per day (30 day average). Agricultural facilities that use less than 100,000 gallons per day can register by using the annual water withdrawal reporting form. For additional information, contact Water Withdrawal Reporting staff at 518-402-8182 or AWQRSDEC@dec.ny.gov.

Take Survey Regarding WQIP Land Acquisition for Source Water Protection Grant

The Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program provides state funding for various project types, including Land Acquisition for protection of drinking water source areas. DEC is seeking participation in a survey to understand any barriers that would prevent potential applicants from using this funding source and how the state can resolve those issues for future rounds. The survey is available on DEC's WQIP Land Acquisition Projects for Source Water Protection Toolkit web page.

SPDES Compliance and Enforcement Annual Report

The SPDES Compliance and Enforcement Annual Report for state fiscal year 2018/2019 is now available. This report details DEC's compliance and enforcement oversight of facilities permitted under the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) and those activities relating to New York State's authorizations under the Clean Water Act. The report also provides a summary of sewage releases reported to DEC as required under the Sewage Pollution Right to Know (SPRTK) Act.

Draft Recovery Policy on Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement Posted for Comments

The draft Recovery on Building Code and Floodplain Management Administration and Enforcement is now posted on FEMA's website for a 45-day public review and comment period ending March 6, 2020. Submit comments to Public Assistance at FEMA-Recovery-PA-Policy@FEMA.dhs.gov.

The intent of this policy is to provide communities with the resources needed to effectively administer and enforce building codes and floodplain management ordinances adopted by state, territorial, tribal, and local governments after a major disaster declaration.

Water Quality Improvement Projects, Nonpoint Source Planning Grant, and Engineering Planning Grants Awarded

WQIP
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, as part of the Regional Economic Development Council Awards, announced $93 million for 85 Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grants that will improve water quality, reduce polluted runoff and restore waterbodies and aquatic habitats.

WQIP grants fund projects including municipal wastewater treatment, non-agricultural nonpoint source abatement, land acquisition for source water protection, salt storage, aquatic habitat restoration, and municipal separate storm sewer systems. A full list of awarded WQIP projects is available on DEC's WQIP web page.

NPG
Governor Cuomo announced $988,636 for 36 Non-Agricultural Nonpoint Source Planning Grant (NPG) projects to produce planning reports. The goal of the program is to get nonpoint source water quality improvement projects ready for construction and to use the planning report to seek funding through WQIP or other funding entities.

Planning projects funded through NPG include in-waterbody controls for nutrients, green infrastructure, culvert repair and replacement, decentralized wastewater treatment facilities, nature-based shoreline projects, and streambank stabilization. A full list of awarded NPG projects is available on DEC's NPG webpage.

EPG

Governor Cuomo announced $3 million for 80 Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering Planning Grant (EPG) projects for the initial planning of eligible Clean Water State Revolving Funding water quality projects.

EPG provides funding to municipalities for engineering and/or consultant fees for engineering and planning services to produce an engineering report. A full list of EPG projects is available on the Environmental Facilities Corporation's EPG webpage (leaves DEC website).

Water Infrastructure Improvement Grants Awarded

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the state Environmental Facilities Corporation has awarded more than $416 million through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant program for projects that protect public health or improve water quality. An interactive map of the grant awardees is available on EFC's web page (leaves DEC website).

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:

  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3500
    518-402-8233
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  • Page applies to all NYS regions