Legislative Commission on
Resource Needs of New York State and Long Island
Fall/Winter 2006 • Thomas P. DiNapoli, Chairman • Volume I

Assemblyman Thomas P. DiNapoli
Dear Friends,

This past legislative session, the legislature reached agreement on a number of important environmental measures, first and foremost, providing $225 million for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), a $75 million increase in funding. The EPF provides funding for a variety of environmental programs including water quality projects such as non-point source programs, local waterfront revitalization, and various watershed and estuary management programs as well as new initiatives focusing on the Ocean and Great Lakes and Invasive Species.

Another significant legislative success was the passage of the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act which will set forth the State’s policy, informed by good science and broad public participation, to conserve, maintain and restore the coastal resources, in a way that maintains its ecological health and integrity, while allowing for sustainable use. The EPF includes $3 million to fund this new program.


Assembly Provides Record Increase in Environmental Funding

Enhanced Bottle Bill would Assist Beach Cleanup

New Drinking Water Rules

Hearings lead to Action

We’re Being Invaded!

Assembly would Protect Residents with Private Wells

2006 Legislative Update

Remediation Update

This year, the Assembly passed the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, making New York State the first of the Great Lakes States to take any action on this historic compact. When enacted by all of the Great Lakes States, this Compact will implement a water management system throughout the Great Lakes Basin. The Assembly also passed numerous other important environmental bills, such as the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, the Private Well Testing Act, the Community Preservation Fund and the Wetlands Protection Act. In spite of widespread support from numerous groups throughout the State, the Senate has yet to vote on these bills.

The Commission’s staff will continue to be involved in a wide and varied agenda of water-related issues in the coming year. State ratification of the Great Lakes Compact, review of the revised State Cleanup Regulations and the Groundwater Remediation Strategy, and dam safety are just a few of the issues that Commission staff will follow and report on in future newsletters.

As always, I welcome hearing your ideas and concerns. Please feel free to contact me or members of my staff at (518) 455-3711 or (516) 829-3368.

Thomas P. DiNapoli, Chair

Assembly Provides Record Increase
in Environmental Funding

his past spring, the legislature passed an on time budget, by the April 1st start of the State’s fiscal year. The initial budget did not include an allocation for the Environmental Protection Fund, but by the end of the regular session in June, the legislature increased the EPF by $75 million over the previous year’s funding, providing $225 million for the EPF for 06-07. The additional money will be used to help fund a backlog of environmental projects as well as some important new initiatives. Water quality programs funded from the EPF include:

2006-2007 EPF Allocations Dollars

Ocean and Great Lakes

$3 million

Invasive Species

$ 3.25 million

Waterfront Revitalization

$27 million

Land Acquisition

$50 million

Long Island Pine Barrens Planning

$1.1 million

Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve

$0.9 million

Non-Point Source Programs

$16.5 million

Soil and Water Conservation Districts

$ 3 million

Finger Lakes – Lake Ontario Watershed

$2 million

Hudson River Estuary Management

$5 million

For further information concerning these programs visit DEC’s website
http://www.dec.state.ny.us/ or contact the Commission.

Enhanced Bottle Bill would Assist Beach Cleanup

ach year, the annual shoreline cleanup along Manhasset Bay is held in conjunction with the annual International Beach Cleanup Day. Assemblyman DiNapoli is a regular participant and is pictured working alongside students from Port Washington and Manhasset who helped with the 2005 cleanup. Over 10,000 volunteers cleaned 989 miles of shoreline in NYS during last year’s event.

Assemblyman DiNapoli is the primary sponsor of the “Bigger Better Bottle Bill” (A.2517) which passed the Assembly once again this session. In spite of widespread support, the Senate companion bill did not come up for a vote. This legislation would expand existing law to cover bottled water, iced tea, juices and sports drinks in disposable containers, which were virtually unknown in 1983 when the original bottle bill was passed. Now they make up more than 21% of beverage sales, and bottled water sales are growing faster than any other beverage. Non-deposit beverage containers make up nearly two-thirds of the bottles and cans littering New York’s shorelines.

The original Bottle Bill has been one of New York’s most effective recycling initiatives with an average statewide return rate of 75%. In the first year this law went into effect, the State experienced a 70% reduction in beverage container litter. The Bigger Better Bottle Bill will continue to be a legislative priority for Assemblyman DiNapoli and he remains committed to the goal of seeing this bill become law in New York State.

New Drinking Water Rules

Little Girl Drinking Water
isinfecting tap water has lowered the incidence of waterborne infectious diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis and cholera, which are spread by drinking untreated water. The Environmental Protection Agency and New York State have been working to enhance drinking water rules to increase protection from waterborne diseases. Below is a summary of new and proposed drinking water treatment rules. More information on EPA’s water quality rules can be found on their website at: http://www.epa.gov/safewater/disinfection.

The Stage 2 Disinfectants and Disinfection
By-Product Rule (DBP Rule)

Prolonged ingestion of disinfection by-products may increase the incidence of bladder cancer, as well as reproductive and developmental health risks. The DBP rule will apply to all community and non-transient non-community water systems that incorporate or deliver water that has been disinfected by a means other than ultraviolet light. Non-transient non-community systems include schools, offices, etc. that serve the same people more than 4 hours per day at least 26 weeks per year. This rule will require drinking water systems to limit exposure to disinfectant by-products in treated drinking water by meeting maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) at each monitoring location. The previous rule utilized a system-wide average instead of individual monitoring locations. EPA estimates that when plants are required to add treatment, the average annual household cost will increase by $5.50.

Depending on system size, compliance monitoring will begin between 2012 and 2016. All systems must be in compliance with the DBP rule at the end of a full year of monitoring.

The Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 Rule)

The LT2 Rule was designed to reduce illnesses from microorganisms such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia in drinking water and applies to all public water systems that use surface water or ground water under the direct influence of surface water. Additional treatment requirements are targeted to higher risk systems (including all unfiltered systems and filtered systems with cryptosporidium in their sourcewater). Action must be taken to reduce risks from uncovered finished water storage facilities and to ensure that systems maintain microbial protection as they reduce the formation of disinfection by-products.

Two years of monthly monitoring will be used to determine treatment requirements. Implementation will be staggered, with systems serving at least 100,000 to start monitoring in October 2006, and systems serving fewer than 10,000 in October 2008. EPA estimates the average household cost for implementing this rule to be less than $12 per year.

Ground Water Rule (GWR)

Public water systems that use ground water may be susceptible to fecal contamination that can contain disease-causing pathogens. The proposed rule has five major components: a periodic sanitary survey; hydrogeologic sensitivity assessment to identify wells sensitive to microbial fecal contamination; source water monitoring to test for the presence of E. coli, enterococci, or coliphage; corrective action; and compliance monitoring to ensure treatment technology reliably achieves 4-log inactivation or removal of viruses.

The GWR will apply to all public water systems served by ground water and any system that mixes surface and untreated ground water (about 157,000 systems nationally). EPA estimates the annual household cost will increase from $2.45 to $19.37, with the average increase expected to be $5 per year. The waterborne viral illnesses should decrease by approximately 57%, or 96,300 illnesses each year; the number of deaths resulting from waterborne illness should also decrease. EPA expects to issue the final GWR in October 2006.

Proposed Revisions to the Lead and Copper Rule (LCR)

Lead and copper enter drinking water primarily through plumbing materials. Exposure to lead and copper may cause health problems ranging from stomach distress to brain damage. Currently, if lead concentrations exceed an action level of 15 ppb or copper concentrations exceed an action level of 1.3 ppm in more than 10% of customer taps sampled, the system must take action to control corrosion. If the action level for lead is exceeded, the system must also inform the public about steps they should take to protect their health and may have to replace lead service lines under their control.

The proposed LCR requires water suppliers to: optimize their treatment system to control corrosion in customers’ plumbing; determine tap water levels of lead and copper for customers who have lead service lines or lead-based solder in their plumbing system; rule out sourcewater as a source of significant lead levels; and, if lead action levels are exceeded, to educate customers about lead and suggest actions to reduce exposure through public notices and public education programs.

If, after installing and optimizing corrosion control treatment, water continues to exceed the lead action level, water supply systems must begin replacing the lead service lines under its ownership. The public comment period closes on September 18, 2006. For more information, visit EPA’s website at http://www.epa.gov/safewater/lcrmr/index.html#.

New Arsenic Rule in New York

EPA’s new standard of 10 micrograms per liter (ug/l) for arsenic in drinking water became enforceable on January 23, 2006. The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has proposed lowering current State regulations to meet this standard. Determination of compliance will be based on an annual average for systems that monitor more frequently than annually. Systems monitoring arsenic less frequently will have to initiate quarterly monitoring if the maximum contaminant level (MCL) is exceeded. A violation will not officially occur until the system has completed one year of quarterly sampling and the running annual average is greater than the MCL.

According to DOH, 58 water supply systems in NYS have reported arsenic concentration in excess of the revised MCL – most of these systems serve fewer than 3,300 households (the individual systems exceeding the MCL were not identified). Exceedances were identified in the following Counties: Allegany (6), Broome (2), Cayuga (2), Chenango (1), Columbia (1), Dutchess (1), Greene (6), Jefferson (1), Madison (1), Oneida (3), Oswego (26), Otsego (1), Putnam (1), Rensselaer (1), Schoharie (1), Schuyler (1), Sullivan (1), and Westchester (1). DOH has estimated the average annualized compliance cost for these systems will be between $11,664 and $15,828 per system, and has proposed to allow variances from the requirements of these regulations. For more information, contact DOH’s Bureau of Water Supply Protection at (518) 402-7650.

Hearings lead to Action

n 2005 and 2006, the Environmental Conservation Committee held a number of hearings across the State on various water-related issues. Below is a review of some of the legislation introduced to address problems identified during these hearings.

Dam Safety

On February 6, 2006, a Dam Safety hearing was held at the Schenectady County Community College, near the Gilboa Dam. This hearing followed a recent dam failure in Washington County and extensive flooding around the State, including in the Catskill Region where several of New York City’s water supply dams are located. The hearing examined various dam safety concerns including regulatory oversight of dams in New York State. The resulting legislative proposals include A.9517, which requires DEC to provide copies of dam safety inspection reports to the Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of municipalities where intermediate or high hazard dams are located. This bill was signed into law (Chapter 17 of the Laws of 2006). Additional legislative proposals resulting from this hearing include: A.11586, a comprehensive bill directed at enhancing the existing dam safety program in NYS; A.9515-B, which requires DEC to undertake a review and analysis of the structural integrity of high hazard and intermediate hazard dams; and A.9516-A, which requires DEC to annually review dam maintenance plans and operations. These bills passed the Assembly, but had no Senate Sponsor.

Ocean and Bays

New York State’s diverse ocean and coastal resources are of tremendous environmental, social and economic value. Major indicators show that the State’s well-being is dependent in large measure on the well-being of its coast. Unfortunately, pollution, invasive species, habitat alteration, over-fishing, and even climate change have all had negative impacts on our ocean waters and coastal resources. In October 2005, the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee held a hearing to examine the health of New York’s ocean resources and to focus attention on reversing these negative impacts. In response to this hearing, Assemblyman DiNapoli sponsored A.10584-B, the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act. This bill directs the development of policy and principles to guide governance of coastal ecosystems and creates the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Council to integrate and coordinate the State’s programs, institutions and activities that affect coastal ecosystems. The Council is directed to report to the Governor and the legislature by November 2008. This bill passed both houses of the legislature and was signed by the Governor as Chapter 432 of the Laws of 2006. With this new law, New York State takes a critical step in achieving healthy, diverse, productive and resilient ocean and Great Lakes resources. In addition, $3.2 million was included in this year’s Environmental Protection Fund for Ocean and Great Lakes initiatives.

Water Quality in the Adirondacks

Water quality concerns are not limited to the ocean or coastal areas. In 2005, the Assembly held a hearing on water quality in the Adirondacks soliciting testimony to assist State and local policy makers in determining how to address invasive species and mercury levels in the Adirondacks. A number of recommendations came out of this hearing, including funding of invasive species programs in the State. This year, the Assembly was able to secure $3 million in the EPF to fund invasive species initiatives.

We’re Being Invaded!

aquatic invasive species
nvasive species are non-native species that can cause harm to the environment or to human health. Experts have estimated that about 1/3 of New York’s plants are non-native, but only a small fraction (10-15%) cause the harm necessary to be deemed invasive. The Chestnut Blight, which has decimated one of the most valuable species of tree in New York, is one of the invasive species that have caused harm here in New York. Zebra Mussels arrived from the Caspian Sea in the late 20th Century and have wreaked havoc on ecosystems, clogged sewer treatment plant pipes, and ruined bathing beaches starting in the Great Lakes and spreading outward. The Asian Long-horned Beetle arrived in the lumber used for packing crates and has forced the cutting of thousands of shade trees in cities and suburbs throughout New York in an effort to stop the beetles from spreading. The list of problems goes on.

In 2003, the legislature passed a law establishing the Invasive Species Task Force. Last year the Task Force completed its deliberations and reported to the Governor and the legislature. One of its major recommendations was the creation of an overarching plan for the management of all invasive species in New York State. The Task Force recommended that implementation and evaluation of ballast water controls, including vessels declaring no ballast on board, are necessary to make significant progress toward preventing the establishment of new invasive species. There is $3 million for invasive species programs in this year’s Environmental Protection Fund.

“Most concerned parties agree that it would be best to control aquatic invasive species through action at the Federal level, but the federal government has failed to take any meaningful measures on this issue to date.”

Most concerned parties agree that it would be best to control aquatic invasive species through action at the Federal level, but the federal government has failed to take any meaningful measures on this issue to date. Existing federal law already requires the exchange of ballast water to occur prior to entry into the Great Lakes Basin. In practice, however, ships declaring no ballast on board (NOBOB) are not subjected to testing to ensure compliance with this requirement. NOBOBs often carry tons of residual ballast water and sediments in their ballast tanks, but may not have executed ballast water exchange at sea. Since ocean-going vessels started using the Great Lakes Seaway in 1959, 36 of the 50 invasive species introduced into the Great Lakes are believed to have originated from ocean-going vessels.

Legislative proposals have been advanced to deal with invasive species, both in ballast water and through other media. The Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee is reviewing available information to ensure that proposals advanced will result in effective reductions in established invasive species, or prevent the establishment of new ones. The problem of invasive species is sure to remain on our watch list for quite some time, and we will provide updates in future newsletters as developments are made.

Assembly would Protect
Residents with Private Wells

ver one million residents of New York State get their drinking water from private wells. In reality, however, water from a private well is not really private. Although it ends up in your drinking glass, dishwasher or bath, the water has often traveled past other homes, businesses, and commercial areas. How others use or maintain their land or their septic systems may affect the water coming out of the tap from a private well. While laws require municipal water suppliers to test their water periodically, and to send residents an annual report on the quality of that water, there are no similar protections for private wells.

This leaves people using private wells around the State unprotected, and often unaware that there may be problems with their drinking water. In 2004 and 2005, the Assembly held hearings that highlighted the situation facing residents in areas where contamination has migrated from old industrial sites into their drinking water through contaminated groundwater, and into the very air they breathe in their homes through contaminated vapors migrating through the ground. To address this threat, Assemblyman DiNapoli sponsored legislation (A.6459-A), which passed the Assembly this year, requiring the testing of water from private wells on the transfer of property. This would provide purchasers with the knowledge necessary to protect themselves, and would ensure that clean water is a right for all, not just for some. The Senate did not support this measure.

Nowhere in our State is immune to groundwater contamination problems. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Draft Policy for Evaluating the Potential for Vapor Intrusion at Past, Current, and Future Sites, estimates that solvents or other volatile chemicals have been disposed of at over 750 sites around the State resulting in contaminated soil or groundwater. These sites, as well as many others, may pose a threat to drinking water.

Just last year, water wells of over 100 homes in the Hamlet of Redwood, Jefferson County, were found to be contaminated with arsenic, lead and copper at levels hazardous to human health. In Dutchess County, EPA has listed an area around Hopewell Junction as a Superfund site and 150 homes there have been found to be contaminated by volatile organic compounds as of early 2006. Of these homes, 141 measured vapor intrusion in their sub slab and 46 homes have vapor mitigation units installed; 123 have contaminated wells, with 51 carbon filtration systems installed by EPA. Unfortunately, discoveries like this are becoming more common.

How others
use or maintain
their land or maintain
their septic systems may
affect the water coming
out of the tap from
your private well.

MtBE is another contaminant of concern. In West Hempstead (Long Island), over 32,000 residents were told not to drink their water in early July because it was contaminated with MtBE. While MtBE has been measured in drinking water on Long Island in the past, this health alert marked the first time that levels in public drinking water there exceeded the State drinking water standard of 10 parts per billion. The potential for more MtBE sites to crop up is high. DEC records show approximately 15,000 petroleum spills annually. New York banned MtBE from gasoline in 2004, but it has been estimated that approximately 50% of spills reported from 1972 to 2004 may have included MtBE contamination. This translates into approximately 7,000 spills annually for 32 years that may have contaminated groundwater with MtBE.

Private well testing is an important public protection measure that will continue to be a priority for the Commission in the coming Legislative session.

Law Scales 2006 Legislative Update

Legislation related to water quality, quantity and conservation
considered during 2006 included the following bills:

Signed into Law

  • A.7893-D – Peconic Bay Region Watershed Protection Act (DiNapoli/S.1365-D, LaValle) This bill will encourage and support initiatives to protect the natural resources of the Peconic bay watershed, one of the State’s richest natural treasures. Chapter 289, Laws of 2006.

  • A.10584-B – New York Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act (DiNapoli/S.8380, Johnson) Establishes the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Protection Policy; creates the New York Ocean and Great Lakes Conservation council and defines the powers and membership of such council. Chapter 432, Laws of 2006

Passed Assembly

  • A.2048 – Wetlands Protection (DiNapoli/S.2081, Marcellino) Provides the Department of Environmental Conservation with regulatory authority over freshwater wetlands of one acre or more in size and other wetlands of significant local importance. Senate Environmental Conservation Committee

  • A.2378-D – Landscape Irrigation Contractors Certification (DiNapoli/S.1286-E, Marcellino) Requires that landscape irrigation contractors pass a certification exam ensuring that irrigation systems will be installed by appropriately trained professionals. Senate Rules Committees

  • A.2819 – EFC Loans for Watershed Protection (DiNapoli/S.4636, LaValle) Authorizes the Environmental Facilities Corporation to provide loans at zero percent interest to municipalities from the Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund for acquiring interests in land for open space and watershed protection pursuant to a management program, plan or project. Senate Corporations, Authorities and Commissions Committee

  • A.6450-B – Community Preservation for Towns (DiNapoli) Authorizes cities or towns to impose a tax of up to 2% on real estate transfers and authorizes municipalities to create community preservation funds to be used for land conservation and historic preservation. No Senate Match

  • A.6459-A – Private Well Testing Act (DiNapoli) Establishes a private well testing program in New York State, requiring testing of private drinking water wells at time of transfer of property for bacteria (total coliform), nitrates, iron, manganese, pH, and all VOCs for which a maximum contaminant level has been established pursuant to public health regulations. No Senate Match

  • A.11625-B – Coastal Resources Protection (DiNapoli/S.6549-B, LaValle) Clarifies and enhances the Secretary of State’s authority over major projects and projects located in environmentally sensitive areas in New York’s Coastal Zone. Senate Finance

  • A.11968 – Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact (DiNapoli/S.8187, Marcellino) Enacts the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact to promote improved management of the waters of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin. Senate Rules

Other Legislation of Interest

  • A.2829 – Exotic Aquatic Species (DiNapoli/S.634, Marcellino) Requires the posting of notice to boaters concerning the presence of harmful invasive species and the existence of non-infested areas. Assembly Ways & Means /Senate Environmental Conservation Committee

  • A.2831-A – De-Icing Compounds (DiNapoli/S.4473-A, Marcellino) Regulates the storage and application of de-icing compounds, requires storage in a shed or other suitable structure to prevent contact with precipitation, and provides DEC with the authority to enter and inspect facilities where such compounds are stored. Assembly Ways & Means /Senate Environmental Conservation Committee

  • A.3575-B – Septic System Siting and Inspection (DiNapoli/S.2356-A, Marcellino) Requires DEC to report on the impacts of septic systems on State waters and provides siting criteria for new septic systems. DOH is required to promulgate regulations on inspection standards. All new onsite wastewater treatment systems are to be inspected when installed, and all systems will be inspected on sale of property. Assembly Codes /Senate Environmental Conservation Committee

  • A.4459 – Carbon Dioxide Regulation (DiNapoli/ S.2730, Marcellino) Caps carbon dioxide emissions of major electric generating facilities by January 1, 2008 at 25% less than the total 1990 level. Assembly Rules/ Senate Environmental Conservation Committee

Groundwater Remediation Strategy

In addition to establishing a new program for remediating contaminated sites, the Brownfield Cleanup Act of 2003 established a comprehensive statewide Groundwater Protection and Remediation Program. DEC, in consultation with DOH, is directed to develop a strategy to address the long-term remediation of groundwater contamination within three years of enactment (which means the strategy should be made public by October 2006). The program is further enhanced by the establishment of a Geographic Information System (GIS) that will provide centralized, comprehensive and publicly available data about sites in the remedial programs.

New State Cleanup Regulations

DEC has reissued draft-revised regulations for the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP). These draft regulations contain revisions to the Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site Remedial Program (State Superfund), the Environmental Restoration Program (ERP) and the Remediation Stipulation Program (a new proposed program), as well as the Brownfields Cleanup Program.

DEC has reorganized and restructured the existing Part 375 regulations in response to the historic 2003 legislation that created the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The public comment period closed in August and September. The Assembly will continue to follow the development of this program with interest.

4 Empire State Plaza, 5th Floor • Albany, NY 12248

Legislative Commission on
Resource Needs of New York State and Long Island

Richard D. Morse, Executive Director
Erica Heintz, Editor

Newsletter Contributors
Rosemary Konatich, Erica Heintz, Rick Morse.

To further our efforts to reduce waste, please inform us if you have a change in address by calling us at (518) 455-3711, faxing us at (518) 455-3837, or writing us at the above address.

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