Aging and failing sewage infrastructure discharges raw sewage into local waterways, jeopardizing human health, closing beaches, harming fish and wildlife, and damaging local economies. Drinking water infrastructure is also in a state of constant disrepair, with communities facing ever-increasing water main breaks every year and numerous "boil water advisories" due to contaminated drinking water.
Antiquated and aging sewage and drinking water infrastructure threatens our environment, health, and economy:
There are an estimated 360,000 lead water service lines throughout New York that pose a serious risk of leaching lead into our drinking water.
The American Society of Civil Engineers gave New York's drinking water infrastructure a C grade and its sewer and wastewater systems a D grade.
Harmful algal blooms (HABs) threaten drinking water quality, recreation, wildlife, and human health. In 2017, HABs were present in over 170 NY water bodies, causing more than 100 beaches to close for at least part of the summer.
Across New York, 6.5 billion gallons of untreated combined sewage and stormwater were released in 2017, affecting 220 water bodies.
Bacteria and viruses in untreated sewage pose a significant health risk. Between 1.8 and 3.5 million Americans become ill annually from contact with recreational waters contaminated by sewage.
In 2017, NYS enacted the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, which is providing $2.5 billion for critical water projects (e.g., upgrading water infrastructure, replacing lead lines in schools, protecting source water) over five years. These investments are a big step in the right direction; however, our infrastructure needs continue to outpace available funding. Nearly $80 billion in water infrastructure needs have been identified for the next 20 years; therefore, a $2.5 billion investment over five years will not adequately address our critical clean water needs.
Governor Cuomo recently proposed a new $2.5 billion clean water investment in his executive budget proposal for SFY 2019-20. When combined with the initial $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017, New York would then provide a total of $5 billion to help address New York's immense clean water needs. We now need the Legislature to support this additional investment and ensure that the new funding is appropriated as soon as possible!
Thank you for taking action. Together we make a difference!
All of Us at CCE