NY makes $255 million available for water, sewer projects

Posted 12 July 2022 at 11:18 am

Press Release, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office  

Governor Kathy Hochul 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.

“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,” Hochul said.

Water Infrastructure Grants Prioritize Projects that Address Emerging Contaminants, Critical Wastewater Projects

The 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 Sept. 9.

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.

Editor’s Note: Orleans isn’t eligible but parts of Genesee are eligible at Tonawanda Creek, Bowen Brook and Bigelow Creek as well as their tributaries.