Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Water infrastructure $$$

water infrastructure

During a flurry of pre-election announcements last week, I took special note of a pair on clean water infrastructure.

The announcements mark what is shaping up to be a generational investment in wastewater treatment plants, sewer collection systems and public water supplies. In a magazine piece earlier this year, I outlined over $500 million of water infrastructure needs across the Adirondack Park.

The federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, combined with pandemic response funds, promises over $400 million for New York in the first year and over a $1 billion total in the years to come. On Thursday, the governor’s office announced the first clean water grants supported by the federal money in Newburgh and Liberty. Federal officials recently released $207 million of the New York’s clean water funds.

According to the release: “An additional $220 million is expected to be awarded to New York from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law… for drinking water projects later this fall, supplementing $45 million in regular federal funding for drinking water infrastructure this year.” State officials have estimated they will fund $438 million in loans and grants this fiscal year.

Adirondack leaders and advocates position the region’s infrastructure needs in the broader context of protecting the water that so many people use to swim, fish, paddle and drink. And many small communities don’t have the resources to fund the projects on their own.

The state last week also announced a slew of other water infrastructure projects that will receive funding, including some in the North Country:

  • $5.3 million in interest-free financing and nearly $670,000 in grant to the town of Ausable to rehab wastewater treatment system;

  • $4.8 million for Tupper Lake water supply improvements;

  • $5 million for Willsboro water treatment plant upgrades;

  • $834,000 for Champlain wastewater treatment upgrades;

  • $3.6 million to improve Moriah sewer collection.

Voters on Tuesday decided on another major piece of the funding puzzle. Advocates hope that approval of the proposed $4.2 billion environmental bond act will round out the massive investment in critical infrastructure.

A major chunk of the bond act proceeds could supplement the federal dollars on clean water projects around the state. It would also open up funds for communities to reduce flood risks and restore natural systems. We will continue to explore what specific water projects could be in the running.

In other news, the Adirondack Park Agency is seeking more information on a proposal to expand the old Hickok Boat Livery on Fish Creek Ponds. Nearby property owners have pushed back against the project, adding fuel to a broader debate over whether the APA needs to consider the wider impacts of marina expansions on state lands and waters.

Photo at top: Construction work in 2014 to replace old water lines in Saranac Lake. Explorer file photo by Mike Lynch

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Zach’s weekly “Water Line” newsletter (updated with yesterday’s bond act results). Click here to sign up for his newsletter and/or others in our slate of daily and weekly offerings.

Related Stories

Zachary Matson has been an environmental reporter for the Explorer since October 2021. He is focused on the many issues impacting water and the people, plants and wildlife that rely on it in the Adirondack Park. Zach worked at daily newspapers in Missouri, Arizona and New York for nearly a decade, most recently working as the education reporter for six years at the Daily Gazette in Schenectady.

One Response

  1. Tim says:

    I always wondered what happened to the Elizabethtown initiative to create a wastewater system.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox