New NY Rules Give Public Notice of Sewage Spills


Every year, tens of billions of gallons of raw sewage befouls waterways New York residents use for drinking, swimming, and fishing. Fixing the problem will take time and money, but in the meantime, a new alert system notifies the public when a spill happens at some, but not all, of the state’s sewage systems.

“These alerts give the public the opportunity to protect themselves from exposure when there’s a sewage spill,” said Dan Shapley, water quality program manager for Riverkeeper, which is dedicated to protecting the Hudson River. “But just as important, the alerts really raise awareness of the decaying state of our water treatment infrastructure and the need to make significant investments.”

The law requires plant operators to report discharges of untreated and partially treated sewage from public sewers and treatment systems to the DEC within two hours of discovery and to notify the public and adjoining municipalities within four hours.

People will get texts or email alerts only for cities they’ve signed up for.