New York Pours $2.5 Billion Into Clean Water Programs

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By Gerald B. Silverman

New York is primed to pump $2.5 billion into its water infrastructure programs following the discovery of chemical contamination in drinking water throughout a number of sites across the state.

The Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which is included in a budget bill ( S. 5492) expected to be signed shortly by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D), would provide $725 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year, but residents of Hoosick Falls are disappointed they won’t see dedicated cleanup funding as part of the measure.

“We’re ground zero for water contamination in New York state,” Michele Baker, a Hoosick Falls resident, told Bloomberg BNA

Baker is the lead plaintiff in a class action against Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp. and Honeywell International Inc. over drinking water contamination after perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) were found in the drinking water. She estimates $25 million is needed to clean the city’s drinking water supply. Saint-Gobain and Honeywell have been named as potential responsible parties for the Hoosick Falls contamination under the state Superfund law and are also facing civil lawsuits.

New York’s water infrastructure measure also includes $130 million for the remediation of hazardous waste sites with water contamination and $100 million for municipal water supply infrastructure programs. It also provides $20 million for the replacement of lead drinking water service lines and $200 million to protect the New York City watershed.

Funding Applauded

Darren Suarez, director of government affairs for the Business Council of New York State, applauded the act.

“New York, like many other states, faces real challenges with our water infrastructure and these funds are critical to ensuring our water treatment and delivery systems continue to provide public health protection,” he told Bloomberg BNA in an email.

Paul Gallay, president of Riverkeeper, also praised the funding.

“After decades of under-investment, New York is finally doing what’s needed to fix its aging water infrastructure,” he said.

The budget bill was approved by both houses of the Legislature April 3 as an emergency measure because lawmakers missed the deadline for the start of the state fiscal year on April 1.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gerald B. Silverman in Albany, N.Y., at GSilverman@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

For More Information

Text of the budget bill is available at http://src.bna.com/nC1

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