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For Release: Thursday, April 20, 2023

DEC and City of Watervliet Recognize Earth Week 2023 By Celebrating $5 Million State Investment in Clean Water

City-Led Initiatives Supported with Recent State Funding Will Significantly Improve Water Quality in the Hudson River

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos, City of Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli, Assemblymember John McDonald, and Senator Jake Ashby joined partners from around the region to celebrate Earth Week and the $4.98 million in State funding for clean water awarded recently to the City of Watervliet. The funding is part of $110 million in water quality improvement grants across the state announced by Governor Kathy Hochul (leaves DEC's website) and bolsters ongoing efforts in Watervliet and throughout the Capital Region to improve water quality and the health of the Hudson River.

"Protecting New York's water quality is among Governor Hochul's top priorities," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "Under her leadership and with the ongoing support for water quality funding in the State Legislature, New York has provided billions of dollars for projects to address infrastructure and protect source waters like those here in Watervliet. The Hudson River is one of our state's true gems and we are proud to work with Watervliet to support their efforts to improve the river and benefit the communities that depend on it."

Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli said, "We are excited to receive such significant support from the State of New York. This investment helps strengthen and continue the work that we are currently doing and will continue to do in the years ahead."

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh said, "Water is our most valuable resource, and we must keep up the infrastructure to ensure it is clean and abundant for this generation and beyond. This historic level of investment gives the City of Watervliet and the Albany Pool Communities an opportunity for transformative improvements in water quality and public health. Thank you to Governor Hochul and the Department of Environmental Conservation for continuing to make water infrastructure projects like this one a priority throughout the State."

Senator Jacob Ashby said, "When it comes to protecting our drinking water, protecting our waterways and revitalizing our infrastructure, there is a strong partnership between state and local officials in our community. These critical investments are right for our families, right for our local economy and reflect our commitment to sound environmental stewardship. I want to thank Commissioner Seggos, Assemblyman McDonald, and Mayor Patricelli for prioritizing these projects."

The funding for projects highlighted today came from DEC's Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Program, which focuses on improving water quality and aquatic habitat, protecting drinking water sources, and enhancing wastewater infrastructure. Projects supported include:

  • $2,500,000 for Combined Sewer Overflow Elimination Phase II
    This project will construct a new storm sewer drainage system in the Port Schuyler section of the City and remove stormwater (rain and snow melt) from the combined sewer system, eliminating the discharge of sewage into the Hudson River from combined system overflows. The initiative is one of several projects in the Capital Region focused on protecting the Hudson River. The Albany Pool Long Term Control Plan is a regional effort between Albany, Cohoes, Green Island, Rensselaer, Troy, and Watervliet which have committed more than $130 million to reduce combined sewer overflows to the Hudson River by 2027.
  • $2,000,000 for Sanitary Sewer System Repair
    This project will help Watervliet complete upgrades to its sanitary sewer system, including the lining of fractured and leaking pipes, replacing 13,150 linear feet of sewer lines, and reconstructing deficient manholes. Watervliet will improve the efficiency of the system by reducing sources of inflow and infiltration, allowing more capacity to convey wastewater. This will minimize the risk of backups and overflows, reducing pollution to the Hudson River.
  • $480,000 for a Land Acquisition Project
    Watervliet will acquire a 58-acre parcel of land adjacent to the Watervliet Reservoir on Hurst Road in Guilderland. This will protect the city's source of drinking water from potential pollution associated with development or other land use activities. The land will remain as undeveloped forest.

New York's Commitment to Clean Water

New York continues to increase its investments in clean water infrastructure. Most recently, in the 2023 State of the State and Executive Budget, Governor Hochul proposed investing an additional $500 million in clean water funding, bringing New York's total clean water infrastructure investment to $5 billion since 2017. To leverage these investments and ensure ongoing coordination with local governments, the Governor created Community Assistance Teams to provide proactive outreach to small, rural, and disadvantaged communities to help them access financial assistance to address their clean water infrastructure needs. The initiative was recently launched (leaves DEC's website) and outreach meetings are underway. For more information, go to EFC's website.

In addition, voters approved the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act in November 2022, advancing additional, historic levels of funding to update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality, strengthen communities' ability to withstand severe storms and flooding, reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions, restore habitats, preserve outdoor spaces and local farms, and ensure equity by investing at least 35 percent, with a goal of 40 percent, of resources in disadvantaged communities.

Earlier this week, Governor Hochul announced the availability of $425 million in Bond Act and Water infrastructure Improvement grants for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure projects. This infusion of public funds will continue to help make water infrastructure investments more affordable for local governments, strengthen resiliency, combat climate change and create jobs in the manufacturing, engineering, construction, plant operations, and related industry sectors. Applications and full eligibility criteria will become available at EFC's website on May 3.

Photo: Watervliet Water Systems Working Supervisor Dave Dressel, DEC Regional Director Tony Luisi, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, Assemblymember John T. McDonald III, RPh, Senator Jacob Ashby, Watervliet Mayor Charles Patricelli, Capital District Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Marc Castiglione

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