Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Source: The Journal News

Cuomo Signs Sewage Notification Bill


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

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 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.

Environmental groups applauded Cuomo for signing the bill.

“It’s unconscionable to think that a family trip to a beloved beach or fishing spot would put our families at risk to dangerous pathogens that make us sick,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment. “The signing of this monumental public health law will allow families to make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary exposure to harmful sewage pollution.”