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Sewage Pollution Right to Know Information for Municipalities

Municipalities with Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) and Publicly Owned Sewer Systems (POSSs) are required to notify DEC and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) immediately but no later that two hours after discovery of an untreated or partially treated sewage discharge. The public and adjoining municipalities must be notified as soon as possible but no later than four hours from discovery. This page contains information and reference material that will help POTWs and POSSs comply with the law.

What Needs to Be Reported

The following types of discharges must be reported:

  • Untreated or partially treated sewage from POTWs and POSSs; and
  • Discharges from CSO outfalls.

A discharge of partially treated sewage directly from a POTW that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit does not need to be reported.

The report must be entered into NY-Alert and include the following for each discharge:

  • Facility Name
  • Volume or Rate
  • Treated State
  • Date and Time of discharge
  • Expected or Actual end date and time of discharge
  • Any corrective actions taken to contain the discharge
  • Location
  • Receiving waterbody
  • Reason for the event

A five-day written report of the discharge is required in accordance with Part 750-2.7 (leaves DEC website).

About NY-Alert

NY-Alert is the notification system that must be used to alert DEC, DOH and the public about sewage discharges as required by SPRTK. It is free for POTWs and POSSs to use and there is no cost to the public to sign-up and receive alerts.

A single on-line form through the NY-Alert system is used for both the 2 and 4-hour notifications. The system can be accessed by a mobile device.

NY-Alert Guidance Materials

Registration and Update Forms

Mail the form(s) with the original signature of the principal executive officer or ranking elected official to:

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

Reporting Tips

  • Designate at least two notifiers for your municipality.
  • To get the location to the "maximum level of specificity", use the Map IT button in NY-Alert to put the pinpoint on the spot where the discharge is occurring. This will populate the address field in the proper format.
  • Volume must be reported. Zero is not an acceptable value for the quantity field. There are several ways to determine or estimate volume:
  • If a pump is used, use the pumping rate of the pump.
  • If a meter is used, use the value obtained by the meter.
  • Use Part II of the Annual CSO BMP report to estimate the volume of discharges. Divide the total volume discharged by the number of overflow events. Use this as the average volume for each notification and justify in the additional instructions section.
  • If a model has been run in the past that indicates that a .2-inch storm will likely cause a CSO event, then the notification should be made when that storm event is predicted to occur. If the model shows that this storm event will create a discharge of 200 gallons per minute, then this is the volume information to enter into NY-Alert. For systems that have been modeled creating a chart of rainfall versus discharge amount for the public to use can be helpful. A model doesn't need to be run after every storm.
  • To clarify any part of the notification, including the method of determining CSO discharge volume, use the additional instructions text box. This box can also include links to the municipality's website where more information can be obtained about how discharges are being addressed.
  • For locations that have frequent discharges, email to request a template.
  • Click on "Send Update" to add information to an event or to submit daily reports for ongoing discharges.
  • Click "Close - Send a Notification" for the termination report of a multi-day discharge.

  • PDF Help
  • For help with PDFs on this page, please call 518-402-8111.
  • Contact for this Page
  • Division of Water
    625 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12233-3500
    Send us an email
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