Volunteer communities will work with technical assistance partners to develop programs that proactively protect public drinking water supplies
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald announced the availability of free technical assistance for municipalities to protect public drinking water supplies through the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2). The multi-agency initiative, led by DEC and DOH in collaboration with the departments of Agriculture and Markets and State, “empowers municipalities to take critical actions to improve and protect public water sources and the environment,” a press release stated.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “The Drinking Water Source Protection Program empowers communities across New York to assess and protect sources of public drinking water, benefiting both public health and the environment. DEC is committed to improving water quality and access to clean water for all New Yorkers by working with local communities to protect, manage and conserve the state's groundwater and surface water supply sources for future generations.”
Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said, “We encourage all of New York’s public drinking water suppliers – large and small – to participate in the Drinking Water Source Protection Program for assistance in ensuring that one of their community’s most vital life resources is protected now and in the future. Developing a drinking water source protection plan includes careful consideration of many complicated factors, which is why it is critically important that municipalities have the necessary technical support to safeguard the health of their residents.”
As part of DWSP2, up to 30 volunteer communities will work with technical assistance providers to develop and initiate implementation of each community's unique drinking water source protection program at no cost to the participating municipalities. DWSP2 is open to all community public drinking water supplies in New York regardless of size or water source.
The program is designed to build off previous work, help align priorities, and fill gaps within a municipality’s current and future source water protection efforts.
Participating municipalities will receive assistance in assessing modern-day vulnerabilities and engaging in preventative actions to protect drinking water sources from contamination, identifying effective actions to address potential contaminant sources, and implementing source water protection actions.
The press release stated, “The free technical assistance provided by the Drinking Water Source Protection Program helps take the complexity and guesswork out of developing a drinking source water protection plan.”
Community public water suppliers are encouraged to apply for free technical assistance to develop and implement a Drinking Water Source Protection Program by visiting the DWSP2 website and completing an online application. The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.
Municipalities participating in the Drinking Water Source Protection Program:
√ Promote public health and safety
√ Support economic viability
√ Enhance environmental protection and recreational opportunities
√ Strengthen community partnerships and collaboration
The press release added, “Drinking water source protection plans provide municipalities with a road map to maintaining and protecting sources of drinking water. Each DWSP2 plan is tailored to the goals and concerns of a community and drinking water source to provide a holistic and comprehensive approach that builds off protection efforts a community already has in place. The DWSP2 process provides updated source water maps, assessments of potential contaminant sources, and identifies effective methods to address potential contaminant sources.
“The Drinking Water Source Protection Program has taken big strides protecting drinking water resources across New York state. Seventy-four municipalities, totaling 46 plans, have worked towards creating action-oriented, community-driven DWSP2 plans to protect their drinking water sources. Sixteen of these communities have completed the plan development process and subsequently received state acceptance, moving forward on implementing their plans.
“While there are no out-of-pocket costs to communities for the development of a DWSP2 plan, municipalities are expected to commit time and local knowledge to work with a free technical assistance provider who will guide the DWSP2 plan development. Selected municipalities with a community public water supply must be prepared to work with a technical assistance provider throughout the DWSP2 process and commit to implement their programs.
“The purpose of DWSP2 is to prepare municipalities for plan implementation to provide long-term source water protection. DWSP2 helps with implementation by identifying feasible actions and funding sources to cover potential project costs.”
The plan will act as a road map that includes:
√ Methods to address targeted potential contaminant sources
√ Cost analysis for all identified implementation projects
√ Potential funding sources that can aid with project costs
√ Project partners that can support implementation
√ Project timing and schedule
Register now for DWSP2’s upcoming webinar, set for 11 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, to learn more about program benefits and how to apply for free technical assistance.
To apply, visit the DWSP2 website and complete an online application. The deadline to apply is 4 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 14.