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Source: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Andrew Cuomo signs sewage discharge bill

BY JON CAMPBELL
ALBANY BUREAU

Posted: August 10, 2012
Originally Published: August 9, 2012

ALBANY — The public will soon be notified any time raw sewage is discharged from wastewater treatment plants, according to a new law signed Thursday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

Under the new law, plant operators will be required to issue an alert to the public and notify the local mayor or town supervisor when untreated or partly treated sewage makes its way into public waterways.

Those notifications will have to be made within four hours of a discharge, while the local health department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation will have to be alerted within two hours.

“These new notification requirements will let the general public know when untreated sewage is released in water bodies, especially swimming beaches and fishing areas,” Cuomo said in a statement. “In addition, this new law will also raise awareness to the need for upgrades and maintenance of our state’s wastewater infrastructure.”

The law was passed by the state Legislature in June. It takes effect May 1, 2013.

A discharge of raw or partly treated sewage sometimes occurs after heavy storms. Environmental groups applauded Cuomo for signing the bill.

“The signing of this monumental public health law will allow families to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary exposure to harmful sewage pollution,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.