$225 Million in Grants for Municipalities to Bolster New York's Actions to Protect Drinking Water Supplies and Vital Resources
$30 Million in Funding to Targeted Counties Will Incentivize Replacement of Old Septic and Cesspool Systems to Prevent Water Pollution
Includes $20 Million for Suffolk County to Help Address Substandard or Failing Systems
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the availability of $255 million in state grants for critical water infrastructure projects that will protect public health and the environment through the State's Water Infrastructure Improvement, Intermunicipal Grant, and State Septic System Replacement programs. This announcement marks the latest action by Governor Hochul to upgrade New York's water and sewer systems, reduce water pollution, and safeguard vital drinking water supplies from emerging contaminants and toxic chemicals. This infusion of public funds will continue to help make water infrastructure investments more affordable for local governments and create jobs in the manufacturing, engineering, construction, plant operations, and related industry sectors. The announcement was made in Suffolk County where $20 million from the State's Septic Replacement Program will help address more than 2,000 substandard or failing septic systems and cesspools that cause significant water quality impairments.
"Every New Yorker deserves access to safe, clean water and today's announcement represents the latest installment in the State's nation-leading investment to tackle emerging contaminants and protect residents and the environment from dangerous pollutants," Governor Hochul said. "These strategic investments will make lifesaving improvements to our water infrastructure and safeguard drinking water for millions of people on Long Island. New York will continue to prioritize resources for projects that provide reliable, clean water for communities across the state while creating good-paying jobs and spurring economic development."
Governor Hochul's announcement of this available funding will directly help Long Island's water providers update their aging water infrastructure. Long Island is almost entirely dependent on a sole-source aquifer and helping water providers protect this valuable and unique groundwater source is vital to ensuring millions of people in Nassau and Suffolk have clean water to drink. This is just one more step the Governor is taking to ensure the people of Long Island have access to clean water.
Water Infrastructure Grants Prioritize Projects that Address Emerging Contaminants, Critical Wastewater Projects
Today's announcement includes $225 million in grants for municipalities to bolster New York's actions to protect drinking water supplies. To date, more than $400 million in state water grants has been awarded to projects that address emerging contaminants. The State's goal is to provide grants to all communities that need help in their efforts to tackle emerging contaminants in their drinking water. As part of the ongoing statewide effort to confront PFAS pollution and help communities that are on the frontlines of PFAS contamination, this round of funding continues to prioritize grant awards for drinking water projects that address emerging contaminants. Critical wastewater projects are also eligible for grants.
The Environmental Facilities Corporation administers the WIIA and IMG programs working closely with the Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation. The State has awarded more than $1.76 billion in water infrastructure grants through EFC since 2015, including $638 million announced by Governor Hochul in April. To date, EFC has awarded 834 WIIA and IMG grants to 488 communities.
Local units of government are eligible to apply for funding for:
- WIIA grant awards that will fund up to 25 percent of an eligible wastewater project's total cost, up to $25 million.
- WIIA grant awards that will fund 60 percent of net eligible project costs for projects that address emerging contaminants above the State determined Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), with no cap on the total award.
- WIIA grant awards for all other drinking water projects will be awarded up to 60 percent of net project costs up to a maximum of $5 million.
- IMG awards that will fund up to 40 percent of an eligible wastewater or drinking water project for communities that share services, up to $30 million.
Grant applications and required supporting documentation must be submitted through EFC's website by 5 p.m. on September 9.
These strategic investments will make lifesaving improvements to our water infrastructure and safeguard drinking water for millions of people on Long Island
Septic System Replacement Program Investments Target Water Quality and Protection of Public Health
An additional $30 million is now available through the State Septic System Replacement Program to support home and small business owners in the targeted replacement of aging and sub-standard septic systems and removal of cesspools in communities statewide.
The Septic Replacement Program improves water quality by encouraging and incentivizing homeowners' replacement of cesspools and failing or inadequate septic systems around a waterbody known to be impaired by septic system discharges. DEC and DOH identified priority geographic areas where property owners are eligible to participate based on the presence of a sole-source aquifer used for drinking water, known water quality impairment linked to failing septic systems, and/or the ability for septic system upgrades to mitigate water quality impairments. EFC will be providing detailed information about how to access the funding to counties with identified priority geographic areas. DEC and DOH will re-evaluate priority geographic areas in future rounds of funding.
New York State will provide funds to counties to reimburse eligible property owners for a portion of the cost of replacing cesspools and septic systems and installing more environmentally effective systems. Eligible property owners can be reimbursed 50 percent of eligible costs up to $10,000. Counties may also set graduated incentive reimbursement rates for septic system projects to maximize program participation and pollution reduction goals. A list of eligible counties and priority geographic areas within those counties is available on EFC's website at https://efc.ny.gov/septic-replacement.
Environmental Facilities Corporation President & CEO Maureen A. Coleman said, "Governor Hochul understands the importance of supporting local governments with grants as municipal utilities tackle compounding infrastructure issues - modernizing aging systems, addressing emerging contaminants, removing lead pipes and instituting resiliency measures that mitigate climate change impacts. The WIIA and IMG grant programs have saved recipients over $2 billion in potential financing costs associated with drinking water and wastewater projects since the program's inception. EFC thanks Governor Hochul for her ongoing commitment to provide funding solutions to our municipal partners to help them confront clean water issues head-on and get critical projects underway."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner and Environmental Facilities Corporation Board Chair Basil Seggos said, "With significant investments like this, Governor Hochul continues to make improving water quality a priority in communities across New York State. Today's grants will provide necessary assistance to allow municipalities to upgrade and modernize their aging water and sewer systems, safeguard drinking water, and help protect residents from emerging contaminants. In addition, these projects create jobs, boosting economies statewide."
State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, "New York State remains committed to doing everything we can to protect our drinking water. This investment will allow local communities to take action to reduce exposure to pollutants in their water supply, while helping to remove financial barriers and I thank Governor Hochul for ensuring communities can continue to invest in water infrastructure upgrades."
Department of State Secretary Robert J. Rodriguez said, "Clean and safe drinking water is not a luxury but a right every New Yorker is entitled to which is why state grant programs, like these, are vital for communities. Healthy drinking water systems are essential to life, economic development, and growth. By prioritizing these investments, Governor Hochul is protecting and improving our water infrastructure throughout our great state."
Additional Water Quality Grants are Available
Governor Hochul recently announced funding is available through the State's Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/. The application is available through July 29, 2022. Available funding includes the 18th round of the Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grant Program. This year, at least $75 million is available to help improve or protect water quality, restore aquatic connectivity in streams, combat harmful algal blooms, and upgrade aging wastewater infrastructure. Six different project types are available for funding, including Wastewater Treatment Improvement, Non-agricultural Nonpoint Source Abatement and Control, Land Acquisition for Source Water Protection, Salt Storage, Aquatic Connectivity Restoration, and Marine District Habitat Restoration. Municipalities and Soil and Water Conservation Districts are eligible to apply for all project types; not-for profits are eligible for select project types and grants range from $500,000 to $10 million depending on the project type. The Governor announced the last round of awardees in December, which included nearly $7.8 million to improve the water quality of Patchogue Bay by reducing the amount of nitrogen entering the waterbody.
Available CFA funding also includes the Green Innovation Grant Program (GIGP) and Engineering Planning Grants (EPG). At least $15 million in grants is available through GIGP to support green stormwater infrastructure and municipal water and energy efficiency projects. Green infrastructure practices help combat nutrient pollution by reducing stormwater runoff. Up to $3 million has been made available for this round of EPG. Grants of up to $100,000 are available to municipalities to help fund an engineering report for initial planning, so they can be better prepared to seek financing to help them complete their wastewater, sewer and water quality projects.
New York's Commitment to Water Quality
New York continues to increase investments in clean water infrastructure projects. Under the leadership of Governor Hochul, the Enacted Budget authorizes an additional $1.2 billion, for a total of $4.2 billion, for the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. This historic initiative, to be taken up by voters later this year, would update aging water infrastructure and protect water quality; reduce air pollution and lower climate-altering emissions; restore habitats; strengthen communities' ability to withstand severe storms and flooding; 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.
In addition to the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, the Budget includes a record $400 million Environmental Protection Fund to support climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improve agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protect our water sources, advance conservation efforts, and provide recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. The budget also included another $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding, bringing the State's total clean water investment to $4.5 billion since 2017.
Local Governments Encouraged to Participate in Clean Watersheds Needs Survey
EFC is urging municipalities to participate in the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Clean Watersheds Needs Survey which EFC kicked off in New York on March 1. Participation is critical as it may impact how much federal Clean Water State Revolving Fund dollars will be allocated to New York State to fund future clean water infrastructure projects. Municipalities are asked to document their community's wastewater infrastructure needs for submission to the EPA. To submit documentation and for resources to assist with submissions, visit here.
Assemblymember Steve Englebright said, "Today's announcement will help ensure Long Islanders have access to clean, safe drinking water, in addition to tremendous investments in Suffolk's septic program. I thank Governor Hochul for her leadership and look forward to continuing to work together to achieve environmental wins for New York."
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said, "As an island, our water is our most precious resources and we must do everything we can to protect it. I want to thank Governor Hochul for her continued commitment to investing in critical water infrastructure. The state's efforts, combined with our efforts on the County level, will ensure safe, healthy water for generations to come."
Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said, "Ask any Long Islander if they support clean water and you will get a resounding yes. Long Island needs clean water! Improving and updating treatment of our wastewater and drinking water systems is imperative to making Long Island sustainable and protecting public health. The fight to protect and restore our islands water quality is in full force and funding is drastically needed for us to win this battle. We are delighted that Governor Hochul understands the critical importance of state assistance. This state funding will help us gain ground in the war against pollution and help make Long Island's waters clean and safe."
The Nature Conservancy's Long Island Policy Advisor Kevin McDonald said, "The Nature Conservancy applauds Governor Kathy Hochul for her dedication to bringing clean water and healthy beaches and bays back to Long Island. Our local water and wastewater infrastructure is inadequate for today's needs. Nitrogen pollution from traditional septic systems threatens our health, economy, and way of life. We need further investments to restore clean water on Long Island, and we're thrilled that today funding allocated by the Governor and Legislature in the state budget will be used to replace polluting septic systems with clean water technology."
Suffolk County Water Authority Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo said, "On behalf of SCWA ratepayers, we thank Governor Hochul for making this critical funding available to water providers across New York State. The Suffolk County Water Authority has proactively allocated tens of millions of dollars to address emerging contaminants through comprehensive testing and the development of innovative treatment technologies, but there is a long way to go. State funding like this keeps costs down for our ratepayers while ensuring the residents of Suffolk County continue to have access to high quality drinking water."
Long Island Water Conference Chairman Kevin Durk and Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners Association President Patricia Peterson said: “We’re proud to operate in a state that recognizes the needs of its water suppliers here on Long Island and is willing to make the investments necessary to construct state-of-the-art treatment systems and other related projects. We are thankful to Governor Hochul for the continued funding that allows us to fulfill our mission of providing Long Islanders with the highest quality water possible.”
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