On January 9th, during his State of the State tour, Governor Cuomo announced the Clean Water Infrastructure Act of 2017 to improve New York’s public water infrastructure. This proposal for 2017 follows two years that saw the contamination of both Hoosick Falls’ public water and Flint, Michigan’s water systems. The act focuses primarily on public drinking water, waste facilities, and source water. As an added benefit, the act hopes to foster job creation throughout the state.
Under the new plan the state will take multiple steps to ensure that New York has clean public drinking water. Steps include replacing old infrastructure with new equipment and filtration systems. The act would also include the reassessment of private water wells to ensure they do not contaminate the public water systems. The plan also has a strong focus on impoverished communities, where the governor hopes to significantly improve their water systems. The state also hopes to update wastewater treatment facilities by increasing their waste capacity and their ability to manage nitrogen, a significant source of toxic algae blooms.
The Clean Water Infrastructure Act also takes steps to ensure environmental protection. Through Environmental Protection funding the state hopes to tackle water runoff and further pollution that contaminates source drinking water, while also promoting the protection of wetlands throughout the state.
Outside of the act, Republican representatives throughout the state have been discussing possible increases in state borrowing and funding for future environmental projects. Majority Leader John Flanagan mentioned during the New York League of Conservation Voters’ Long Island Cocktail Party that he, along with other Republicans, has been considering a possible “Clean Water Bond Act,” that would primarily support New York’s smaller communities through taking government loans to invest in water infrastructure. By taking on these loans the government could further improve public water infrastructure throughout these smaller communities.
All of these proposals will require legislative approval, but these initiatives demonstrate that New York is ready to take action for clean water through preventative measures. Through these efforts the state hopes to ensure a future with clean drinking water.