Port Chester, Rye, Catskill Each Secure $10M In Water Quality Grants from New York State

ALBANY—More than $110 million was awarded to 86 projects through two grant programs to improve water quality statewide, it was announced earlier this month. The grant programs support projects designed to help protect drinking water, combat contributors to harmful algal blooms, update aging water infrastructure and improve aquatic habitat in communities statewide. More than $90 million of the funding supporting water quality improvements in Environmental Justice communities have been disproportionately impacted by environmental pollution.

“New York continues to provide historic levels of financial support to ensure all New Yorkers have access to clean water for generations to come,” said Gov. Kathy Hochul in making the announcement. “We will continue upgrading New York’s aging infrastructure and strengthening our water security  improving the quality of life and public health of communities across the state.”

More than a dozen communities in the Mid-Hudson region and New York City secured grant funding, including Port Chester, Rye and Catskill, which were each awarded $10 million for their respective clean water infrastructure projects.

The $110 million in grants were administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), with more than $108 million going to 51 projects through the State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program and nearly $2 million going to 35 projects through the Non-Agricultural Nonpoint Source Planning and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Mapping Grant (NPG). New York State continues to prioritize funding for projects that may help decrease the occurrence of harmful algal blooms (HABs). Nearly half of the WQIP and NPG awarded grants, totaling approximately $45 million, will support projects in watersheds known to have experienced HABs in the past five years and/or help implement a project identified in a DEC HABs Action Plan.

The WQIP grant program funds projects that directly improve water quality or aquatic habitat, or protect a drinking water source. Supported in part by the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and Clean Water Infrastructure Improvement Act funding, WQIP projects include municipal wastewater treatment upgrades, non-agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, land acquisition projects for source water protection, salt storage construction, aquatic connectivity restoration, and marine habitat restoration.

The NPG program funds projects that help pay for the initial planning of non-agricultural nonpoint source water quality improvement projects, such as undersized culvert replacements and green infrastructure technologies, and State permit-required storm sewer mapping in urban areas. When implemented, these projects will reduce the amount of polluted stormwater runoff entering lakes, rivers, and streams, and improve resiliency against climate impacts. This grant is supported by the State’s EPF. The EPF provides funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.

Among the project awardees were a host of projects in the Mid-Hudson region and New York City, including:

Village of Catskill Village, Greene County, Catskill Combined Sewer Overflow Elimination Project – $10 million

The Village of Catskill will eliminate combined sewer overflows into the Hudson River by repairing and replacing their sewage collection system, including rerouting catch basins into existing and proposed storm sewers, replacing the existing force main, improving the pump station, and disconnecting the stormwater drainage system from the sanitary sewers.

Town of Wawayanda, Orange County, Town of Wawayanda Robinn Meadows Wastewater Treatment Facility Disinfection – $1 million

The Town of Wawayanda will install an ultraviolet effluent disinfection system at the Robinn Meadows Wastewater Treatment Plant. This project will improve water quality by reducing pathogens in the treatment plant’s discharge.

Village of Florida, Orange County, Village of Florida Land Acquisition – $615,000

The Village of Florida, in collaboration with the Town of Warwick, will acquire more than 90 acres of land to further protect their drinking water source, Glenmere Lake. By acquiring this parcel, the village will protect its sole drinking water source through enhanced land management.

Village of Maybrook, Orange County, Village of Maybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant Disinfection – $383,680

The Village of Maybrook will install an ultraviolet effluent disinfection system at the Maybrook Wastewater Treatment Plant. This project will improve water quality by reducing pathogens in the treatment plant’s discharge.

Village of Walden, Orange County, Village of Walden Salt Storage Barn – $500,000

The Village of Walden will construct a new salt storage facility located further from surface waters than the existing storage location. This structure will protect the Wallkill River and drinking water.

Town of Stony Point, Rockland County, Town of Stony Point Sanitary Sewer Improvements – $2,754,838

The Town of Stony Point will replace the influent pump station, grit chamber, and bar screen (headworks) at the town’s sewage treatment plant to better handle peak flows through the plant and reduce sanitary sewer overflows to the Hudson River.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection for Green Infrastructure Practices (New York City) – $2 million

City-owned-street medians will be upgraded with green infrastructure practices to protect local water quality and address inland flooding challenges.

Town of Mount Pleasant, Westchester County, Town of Mount Pleasant MS4 Vacuum Truck$400,000

The Town of Mount Pleasant will purchase a vacuum truck to clean and maintain catch basins in the town. Using this equipment will reduce sediment, debris, and other materials entering the Kenisco Reservoir from urban areas.

Village of Port Chester, Westchester County, Village of Port Chester Sanitary Sewer Improvements Phase I – $10 million

The Village of Port Chester will upgrade its sewers from Ryan Street and Beech Street to Westchester Avenue and Smith Street. Upgrades will reduce inflow and infiltration in the system and eliminate illicit connections. The project will reduce sanitary sewer overflows and help improve the water quality of the Byram River.

City of Rye, Westchester County, City of Rye Phase III Sanitary Sewer Improvements – $10 million

The City of Rye will upgrade its sewer system by completing spot repairs and replacements, installing approximately 22,000 linear feet of pipe lining, and repairing 500 manhole defects city wide. This project will reduce the amount of untreated wastewater entering Long Island Sound during storm events.

Land Acquisition Projects Ulster County, For Aquatic Connectivity Restoration – $250,000

The county will replace a failing and undersized stream culvert in a tributary to the Sawkill Creek in Woodstock. The project will connect 2.2 miles of aquatic habitat and alleviate flooding events in the Lower Esopus Creek watershed.

Marine Habitat Restoration, Save the Sound, For Marine Habitat Restoration (New York City) – $749,976

Save the Sound will restore four acres of salt marsh and install oyster castles and vegetation along 1,100 linear feet of shoreline. The oyster castles and vegetation will filter nutrients from stormwater and stabilize marsh banks in Udalls Cove.

Seatuck Environmental Association, for Marine Habitat Restoration (Long Island) – $320,00

 The Seatuck Environmental Association will implement a fish passage at the Mill Pond dam in Wantagh. The project will provide passage for aquatic biota and fish access to freshwater spawning habitat in Bellmore Creek.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Mapping: Town of Orangetown, Rockland County for MS4 Mappin – $75,000

The town will hire an engineering firm to complete comprehensive mapping of storm sewer systems in the Hackensack River, Lower Nauraushaun Brook, and Lower Hudson River Estuary watersheds. Mapping will include all basic element data for regulated stormwater system management.

Town of New Windsor, Orange County, for MS4 Mapping – $75,000

The town will complete comprehensive mapping of the stormwater system. The project will include mapping of priority areas and proposed stormwater retrofits.

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 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.

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.

The grants announced earlier this month were issued following completion through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process. The CFA was created to streamline and expedite grant applications and marks a fundamental shift in the way state resources are allocated, ensuring less bureaucracy and greater efficiency to fulfill local economic development needs. The CFA serves as the single-entry point for access to economic development funding, ensuring applicants no longer have to slowly navigate multiple agencies and sources without any mechanism for coordination.

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