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Jacobs bill would decrease sewer overflows into area waterways

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Fri, Nov 17th 2017 07:00 pm
Tax credits to offset homeowner efforts to decrease storm water runoff
New York State Sen. Chris Jacobs announced Friday he has proposed a law that would help keep area waterways clean by reducing residential sewer overflows. The bill, S-6935, would incentivize homeowners to make improvements that would reduce the amount of their stormwater runoff.
"We know that if homeowners do such things as disconnect roof drain downspouts from area sewers, it can divert hundreds of gallons of rainwater from getting into our sewer systems," Jacobs said. "Homeowners making these types of improvements have the potential to make a huge impact on our stormwater problems in Western New York."
When local beaches are forced to close, it typically occurs after heavy rains, when stormwater overwhelms sewage treatment plants and untreated water is diverted into area creeks, rivers and lakes. A major contributor of this surge of stormwater comes from local homes but, with minor alterations, homeowners can significantly decrease the amount of their stormwater runoff.
Jacobs' legislation would provide a tax credit to the homeowner for 50 percent of cost of this "green infrastructure" work. The maximum credit amount per homeowner would be capped at $3,000.
Earlier this year, Western New York received international attention when a major sewer overflow discharge went into Niagara Falls during the height of the summer tourist season. His 60th Senate District is also home to a number of beaches that were negatively impacted by closures attributed to sewage overflows. The lawmaker said he believes the tax credit program might spur homeowners to take action he hopes would be repeated by friends and neighbors.
"Green and environmentally friendly improvements made possible through the use of these tax credits have the potential to reduce overflows while also improving home values," Jacobs said. "It's a classic win-win situation for our community."

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