The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) estimates that over the next 20 years New York will need to invest over $36 billion in municipal wastewater infrastructure.
Water quality in New York State was greatly improved with the wastewater infrastructure investments that followed the enactment of the Federal Clean Water Act in 1972. The useful lifespan of many of these investments is now being reached and in order for New York to maintain and enhance the quality of its waters it is essential that a new commitment be made for renewing, replacing, and improving wastewater infrastructure across the state. With over 610 municipal wastewater treatment facilities, thousands of privately-held residential facilities, and an estimated 1.5 million septic systems, the magnitude of this challenge is considerable. But new investments cannot be delayed. Municipal and urban discharges are the primary source of pollution for 84% of newly-listed impaired waters in New York.
Collection and conveyance:
There are approximately 22,000 miles of sewer pipes in New York and the DEC estimates that more than 30% of these pipes are over 60 years old and in need of replacement due to age. ($6.6. billion)
Wastewater treatment facilities:
State-wide, around 23% of equipment in wastewater facilities is more than 30 years old and past its useful life. ($13.6 billion)
Combined sewer overflows (CSOs):
60 municipalities across New York State are serviced by sewer systems that combine storm water and sanitary sewerage in the same system. During storm events, the capacity of these systems can be overwhelmed, resulting in large discharge of untreated waste. ($7.5 billion)
When much of New York State’s wastewater infrastructure was built, the federal government played a lead role providing either 55% or 75% of the total project costs through grants. Federal funding for wastewater infrastructure has declined significantly in recent years and much of the financial burden for new investment will fall on local governments. Moreover, changing demographics, the looming threat of climate change, and the desire among many communities to pursue smart growth strategies also demand creative new thinking and new solutions for sustainably addressing wastewater infrastructure needs in New York.
New York State DEC Wastewater Treatment (link)
New York DEC Handbook on Wastewater Management for Local Representatives (link)
NYS DEC Wastewater Infrastructure Needs of NYS Report (link)
New York Rural Water Association (link)
New York State Water & Sewer Infrastructure Co-Funding Initiative (link)
New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (link)
New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (link)
USEPA wastewater overview (link)
USEPA municipal technologies (link)
USEPA constructed wetlands (link)