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Historic clean water grants will improve Hudson water quality

UPDATED 10/10/2017 with Mohawk River projects

Communities seeking to invest in projects to improve water quality in the Hudson River and its tributaries will get a boost from the first round of grants announced since New York State’s historic $2.5 billion investment in clean water.

Riverkeeper was a leading advocate for establishing the Clean Water Infrastructure Act in 2017 and the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act in 2015. These established and funded grant programs to assist local communities struggling to fix the pipes, pumps stations and treatment plants that are essential for maintaining and improving water quality.

Throughout the Hudson River Watershed, an estimated $42.8 million in grants announced this week will help fund $208.3 million in wastewater infrastructure projects. (Another $33.1 million will support $77.4 million for drinking water infrastructure projects in the same region.) Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement of the grants included an interactive map showing the location of projects.

Some highlights of the announcement include:

  • $14.8 million toward $82.1 million in total investments in reducing combined sewage overflows in the portion of the Hudson River known as the Albany Pool, where six Capital District communities are collaborating under a landmark state order to improve Hudson River water quality.
  • $9.4 million toward $41.3 million in total investments to reduce combined sewer overflows and otherwise improve water quality in the Mohawk River watershed. The Mohawk River is the Hudson River’s largest tributary.
  • $4.7 million toward $18.7 million in total investments to reduce combined sewer overflows in the Upper Hudson River.
  • $4.9 million toward $29.7 million in total investments in four other communities with wastewater plants that discharge directly to the Hudson River Estuary.
  • Grants to Town of Rosendale and the Village of Red Hook to invest in sewer upgrades in the Rondout Creek and Saw Kill watersheds, respectively. Both communities are in watersheds where Riverkeeper and our community science partners have monitored water quality.

The documented need for investments in wastewater infrastructure is nearly $2.5 billion in Hudson River Watershed counties outside of New York City, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s most recent Clean Watersheds Needs Survey. That is likely a significant under-estimate of the total need, given that fewer than one-third of municipalities in the Hudson River Estuary watershed have documented needs, according to Department of Environmental Conservation data.

Riverkeeper wants to ensure that the commitments made to investments in clean water are maintained in the next budget, so we can continue making progress toward meeting these needs.

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