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Important New Program for Municipalities to Manage Sewer Investments

The Department of Environmental Conservation has announced a new program, offering municipalities the opportunity to volunteer to be part the state’s Municipal Sewage System Asset Management Pilot Program.

Asset management is a tool for estimating and saving for future costs to keep up with maintenance and operations of sewer pipes, pump stations, treatment plants and other critical wastewater infrastructure. At the last estimate, for every $1 spent on public sewerage systems in New York State, we were falling $4 behind in needed investments. One of the reasons infrastructure has fallen into such disrepair since many systems were put into service a generation ago with the passage of the New York Pure Waters Bond Act and the U.S. Clean Water Act, is that communities haven’t made sufficient routine, ongoing investments to maintain infrastructure. Asset management is a tool to improve outcomes for the next generation. And that, in turn, will mean cleaner water.

The pilot program is expected to run for three years, and the state anticipates that up to 20 municipalities will be able to participate. At the conclusion of the program, the participating municipalities can expect to have a completed municipal sewage system asset management plan and the tools (e.g., computerized asset management system) to implement the plan.

Riverkeeper is eager to see Hudson River Watershed communities apply. Thanks to the DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program, which is contributing $600,000, we expect the Hudson Valley to be a laboratory for this pilot project. Applications are due on January 20, 2016.

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