Governor Hochul Announces $272 Million for Water Quality Improvement Projects across the State

2021-12-23 07:38:47 By : Ms. Sophie OuYang

Round XI Regional Economic Development Council Awards Funding for 179 Projects to Update Aging Water Infrastructure, Combat Harmful Algal Blooms, Protect Drinking Water, and Prevent Potential Contamination

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that more than $272 million is being awarded to 179 projects to protect and improve water quality across New York State. These awards are in addition to the $196 million awarded to 488 projects from multiple State Agency programs through Round XI of the Governor's Regional Economic Development Council Initiative announced last week to stimulate New York's post-pandemic economic recovery. The $272 million awarded through the State's Water Quality Improvement Project program will help significantly improve water quality, combat contributors to harmful algal blooms, and update aging water infrastructure in communities across the State. 

"Our state's economic development goals cannot be achieved without clean water for drinking, recreation, and the overall quality of life New Yorkers expect and deserve," Governor Hochul said. "These sustained investments in water quality improve the health of our communities while creating economic opportunity through well paying, long lasting jobs."

Today's announcement is the largest-ever awarded through the Water Quality Improvement Project program. Earlier this year, Governor Hochul announced more than $277 million in economic development funding was awarded to support 585 shovel-ready projects across New York State—the full list of awardees can be found here. The funding is part of the $750 million announced as part of Round XI of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative. 

Lieutenant Governor Benjamin said, "Clean air and water is not a privilege, it is a human right and New York is steadfast in our commitment to protect and improve water quality across the Empire State. The $272 million in funding will significantly upgrade our clean water and wastewater infrastructure while creating jobs that will bolster local economies for years to come." 

The Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) grant program is administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and funds projects that directly address documented water quality impairments or protect a drinking water source. Supported in part by the State's Environmental Protection Fund, WQIP projects include municipal wastewater treatment upgrades, non-agricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, land acquisition projects for source water protection, salt storage construction, aquatic connectivity restoration, and marine habitat restoration.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Protecting New York's water quality is among Governor Hochul's top priorities. She recognizes that access to clean water is critical to sustaining the health of our communities, environment, and economy. The $272 million in WQIP grants announced today will help communities across the state advance work and maximize investments to safeguard our drinking water supplies for generations to come."

Highlights of the 179 projects funded in this round of grants include: 

Land Acquisition Projects to Protect Drinking Water Sources:

New York's Commitment to Clean Water 

New York continues to increase investments for clean water infrastructure projects, including the State's unprecedented $4 billion commitment to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean water. In September, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the availability of $600 million to communities statewide through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA), WQIP, and Intermunicipal Grant (IMG) programs to fund projects to upgrade infrastructure and make communities more resilient to flooding and other impacts of climate-driven severe storms and weather events. Also recently, an additional $44.2 million was announced for drinking water and wastewater projects, $83 million was announced to address emerging contaminants, and last week, the Governor appointed the members of the Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force.

About the Regional Economic Development Councils   

The Regional Economic Development Council initiative is a key component of the State's approach to State investment and economic development. In 2011, 10 Regional Councils were established to develop long-term strategic plans for economic growth for their regions. The Councils are public-private partnerships made up of local experts and stakeholders from business, academia, local government, and non-governmental organizations. The Regional Councils have redefined the way New York invests in jobs and economic growth by putting in place a community-based, bottom-up approach and establishing a competitive process for State resources. Learn more here.