ROCHESTER (WXXI) – A group that says it works to protect our air, land, water and wildlife is updating its 2016 report “Tapped Out: New York’s Clean Water in Peril, and they’re finding billions of gallons of sewage are being discharged in state waterways.
Liz Moran is water and natural resources director for Environmental Advocates of New York.
“We’ve found that since 2013, 10,687 sewage overflow events in New York State have been reported, totaling to over 3.8 billion gallons of sewage discharged,” she said.
Moran says thanks to the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act of 2012, reporting of overflows has greatly improved, but the group maintains serious underreporting exists.
She points to Chemung County, which has reported only 1 sewage overflow since 2013.
“We know that 28 billion gallons of sewage is discharged into the New York Harbor annually. Additionally, one third of of all the reports did not have a reported volume, meaning that many New Yorkers still don’t know the extent of pollution during sewage overflow events in their communities,” she said.
Environmental Advocates of New York has several recommendations:
1–Provide additional staff funding for the DEC. Municipalities and wastewater operators need a properly funded DEC so they are provided with the tools they need to comply with sewage reporting and can address the root of the problem.
2–Increase grant funding for water infrastructure projects. The SFY 2018-19 Budget should include at least $800 million annually for the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act.
3–Provide financial support for communities to monitor sewage discharges.
Click here to view the addendum to the group’s report