Grant Funding Will be Awarded to Erie County Water Authority to Impact Key Projects
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $20 million in water infrastructure upgrades for communities in Erie County. With this funding, the Erie County Water Authority can complete a long-awaited, $80 million overhaul that includes upgrading water filters that treat 60 million gallons of water from Lake Erie each day, and haven’t had substantial upgrades for 70 years.
“Water is our very essence, and when we don't protect our water and the systems that deliver it, we put our communities at risk,” Governor Hochul said. “Today, we're delivering significant funding for the first major upgrade to Erie County's water systems, helping ensure over half a million people have access to clean drinking water for decades to come.”
This investment is the start of a major infrastructure project that will ensure that up to 180,000 Erie customers served by the Van de Water Treatment Plant will not be affected by prolonged service interruptions, and can respond to increased demands on the system. It will also help ECWA extend the life of its water infrastructure and provide its more than 550,000 customers with a reliable supply of safe and affordable water.
New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation President and CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, “Governor Hochul’s commitment to ensuring New Yorkers have access to safe drinking water is evident in the state’s record investments to modernize water infrastructure, like the grant announced today. EFC is proud to work with our partners in state and local government to provide the grant funding which will make this critical project possible.”
New York State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “The $20 million announced today will allow Erie County to make upgrades to their water system that will safeguard their drinking water now and for years to come. I thank Governor Hochul for her commitment to the protection of the health of all New Yorkers as we know that clean and safe water is essential to life.”
State Senator Sean Ryan said, “Reliable access to clean water is vital to our health and to the Western New York economy. It's something we often take for granted until it's gone. This investment in modernizing ECWA's filtration systems will ensure residents of Erie County can remain confident that our water supply is safe and dependable. I thank Governor Hochul for prioritizing upgrades to our clean water infrastructure here and throughout the state.”
Assemblymember Bill Conrad said, “Indeed, water quality is a quality-of-life concern. We're fortunate to live on the freshwater shores of Lake Erie, but the age of our infrastructure brings challenges. I thank Governor Hochul for recognizing the need here, and for helping the Erie County Water Authority continue its work to safely and effectively deliver clean, low-cost water to is customers and communities.”
Water is our very essence, and when we don't protect our water and the systems that deliver it, we put our communities at risk."
New York's Commitment to Clean Water
Today’s Erie County announcement builds on the Governor's commitment to clean water. The 2023-24 Enacted Budget included an additional $500 million in clean water funding as proposed by Governor Hochul, 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 proposed the creation of 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 and outreach meetings are underway. Any community that needs help with their water infrastructure needs is encouraged to contact EFC at efc.ny.gov/CAT.
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. During Earth Week, Governor Hochul announced the first availability of Bond Act funding that, when combined with existing state funding sources, totals $425 million made available in state water grant funding.
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