Despite the fact that New York City was just declared to have the tastiest water in a regional competition between the surrounding counties, it looks as if the state still has a lot of work to do in terms of improving drinking water quality and wastewater treatment infrastructure. Not only did Governor Cuomo recently announced that the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors approved $60.7 million in grants for these purposes, but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also awarded another $186 million in grants for the same sorts of projects throughout the Empire State.
Earlier this month, Cuomo announced the Board’s approval, which includes nearly $8.4 million in grants given out under the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act. Rensselaer, for example, will receive $11.9 million to acquire a water storage tank and a portion of the pump station facilities that were already built and financed by the city’s Water and Sewer Authority. Sharon Springs, in Schoharie County, will receive $1.6 million to design and construct wastewater collection and treatment improvements to its already existing facilities. Prattsville, located in Greene County, will receive $1.45 million to provide necessary recovery assistance as a result of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee.
The EPA is making significant contributions to New York State’s water, too. The $189 million in grants will be used to upgrade systems throughout the state — part of the organization’s mission to protect both public health and the environment.
“Providing funds directly to New York emphasizes the importance of partnering with states to help address their unique and critical environmental challenges,” says EPA Administrator Pruitt in a press release. “President Trump has made updating our nation’s infrastructure a priority, and this grant demonstrates EPA’s commitment to carrying out improvements. These types of investments help empower states to protect their natural resources, and grow their economy while solving real environmental problems in local communities.”
Considering that centralized wastewater collection and treatment systems serve over 75% of the U.S. population, it’s within the best interests of government officials and organizations to serve their citizens. Governor Cuomo has made water quality a top priority too, according to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner, Basil Seggos:
“These investments are critical to not just bringing jobs back to some of the municipalities where work is needed, but very importantly to restoring water quality,” Seggos tells WAMC. “And this is all about keeping our waters clean. It’s about keeping our municipalities vibrant, good places to work and good places to live and recreate.”
The governor’s office adds that New York’s annual investment in water-quality infrastructure is the highest in any state in the nation.