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Sewage Pollution Right to Know Information for Municipalities

On June 13, 2018, the NY-Alert system changed platforms. To enter sewage discharge notifications you need to create new credentials. An email containing a registration link was sent to current notifiers. If you did not get the email or did not complete the registration process within the 72 hour deadline, please contact the SPRTK Team at

Municipalities with Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) and Publicly Owned Sewer Systems (POSSs) are required to notify DEC and the Department of Health 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 (link 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.

Common Questions

Q. What if I forgot my username and/or password?
A. You can click the "Forgot my Username" or "Forgot my Password" links on the log-in page to reset using your secret question.

Q. How often do I need to change my password?
A. Every 90 days.

Q. Should I also report sewage spills to the DEC Spill Hotline?
A. No, do not call the DEC Spill Hotline to report a discharge because the information will not be forwarded to the Department of Health.

Q. What if my municipality already uses another reporting system for sewage spills?
A. NY-Alert must be used to report sewage discharges to DEC, DOH and the public. If your municipality requires sewage discharges to be reported using a local notification system, both notification systems must be used. DEC will not be notified unless NY-Alert is used to report the discharge.

Q. What should I do if there is a spill during a power outage?
A. In the case of a power outage, call your regional water engineer and local health department to report the discharge.

Q. Do wet weather Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) discharges have to be reported?
A. Final regulations for the SPRTK law require wet weather CSO discharges to be reported to DEC and DOH within two hours of discovery. These notifications may be made on a waterbody basis for a community. Daily and termination notices are not required for wet weather discharges.

Q. What if a report was submitted by mistake?
A. If a report was submitted by mistake, the facility can provide an update to DEC and Department of Health with the information email and provide details in the 5-day written report submitted to the Regional Water Engineer.

Q. Does a report need to be submitted for exceedances of State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit limits?
A. No, the law does not apply to exceedances of SPDES permit limits. Permit limit exceedances should be reported using the Report of Noncompliance Event Form (PDF).

Q. If the operator of a POTW or POSS responds to a sewage discharge event that is owned/operated by another party, who is responsible for submitting the sewage discharge report form?
A. The owner/operator of the system where the sewage discharge occurred is responsible for reporting the sewage spill. If it is a privately owned line, it does not need to be reported.

Q. We issued a notice and then determined that the line was privately owned, what do we do?
A. Click on the "Close - with Notification" link and in the additional information box enter that it was determined to be a privately-owned sewer line.

Q. How does the facility operator know that the report was received by DEC?
A. NY-Alert keeps records of all reports submitted on its website. In addition, you can see all of your incident reports in Everbridge for 18 months after submission.

Q. State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permits currently require signs at each Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) location. Do these signs need to be replaced by new "CSO Warning" signs as shown on DEC's website?
A. The sign shown on DEC's website is a good example of a CSO outfall sign. The existing signs do not have to be replaced, They are covered under current regulations and the new law does not require them to be changed.

Q. How are adjoining municipalities being notified?
A. Elected officials of adjoining municipalities can register with NY-Alert as a public opt-in. They can also get the notifications by going to the NY-Alert website.

Q. How long do the notices stay in Everbridge for review?
A. 18 months.

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