Health & Wellness

Local Lawmakers Support Clean Drinking Water Act

From left Assemblyman Kevin Byrne, Yorktown Supervisor Michael Grace, State Sen. Terrence Murphy and North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas Credits: Photo Courtesy of Senator Terrence Murphy

North Salem Supervisor Warren Lucas is among several local officials supporting the New York State Water Infrastructure Relief Act sponsored by State Sen. Terrence Murphy.

The act includes a maximum award of $10 million per year to support a qualifying municipality’s project. The state will cover 80 percent of qualified projects, excluding emergencies. To cover urgent situations, the act includes language establishing a process that requires the approval or denial of an emergency application within 48 hours and funding within 72.

Murphy also announced his support of the $5 billion Clean Water Bond Act of 2017, which, if enacted, will improve water quality and also upgrade the 40th Senate District’s storm water and wastewater infrastructure. The bond act will allow communities in the Hudson Valley access to funds to ensure critically needed infrastructure projects are financed. Because it is a bond act, voters will have a voice how the projects move forward.

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“There are two things you cannot live without: oxygen and water,” Sen. Murphy said. “But the reality is contamination and the quality of our drinking water is a major concern to residents in the Hudson Valley. We have a comparable larger issue with stormwater and wastewater in the 40th Senate District. We have an obligation as public servants to protect the long-term health of our residents. Together, the New York State Water Infrastructure Relief Act and the Clean Water Bond Act will provide the financial assistance our communities need to face the environmental concerns in our region.”

North Salem Town Supervisor Warren Lucas, who is also a member of the executive board of the East Hudson Watershed Corporation said, “The leadership Senator Murphy has shown in moving these bills forward has been phenomenal. A group of us with sewer issues, including representatives from Lewisboro, Somers, and Yorktown recently met with the Environmental Facilities Corporation to discuss our sewer system issues, which is a $103 million dollar problem. The funds from these bills will go a long way in rectifying our infrastructure problems as long as the parameters are fair to all the communities.”

Somers Town Supervisor Rick Morrissey, who serves as Chairman of the Northern Watershed Committee, spoke about the municipal separate storm water sewer system (MS4) mandate, which forces municipalities in the East of Hudson watershed to prevent pollution of New York City’s drinking water. “The mandate will increase local taxes, which already stand at an unbearable level. It is more important than ever that we are able to provide clean water to residents and to surrounding communities, including New York City,” he said.

“Members of the Northern Watershed Committee recently discussed unfunded mandates coming from the Department of Environmental Conservation,” Morrisey said. “We would need to spend about eight percent of our budgets to comply with the new regulations, and that will put us well over the tax cap. So it is welcome news to hear about five billion dollars being designated through this bond act to help local communities.”

John Ravitz, who serves as Executive Vice President for the Westchester Business Council and as the Chairman of the Westchester League of Conservation Voters commented,  “The community will have the opportunity to take part in this. From the standpoint of the Business Council, this will help attract more business to the area. We need to be able to show that our water infrastructure is strong, which sends the message that Westchester and the Hudson Valley area is open for business.”

Article courtesy of State Senator Terrence Murphy.

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