Lupardo Announces Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act Passes Legislature

June 21, 2012

(Albany, NY) Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) today announced passage of legislation she co-sponsored that requires publicly owned treatment facilities to report discharges of untreated or partially treated sewage. The bill was approved in the Assembly and the Senate and will go to the Governor for his approval.

"Clean water is essential to our health,” Lupardo said. “The public deserves to know when our waterways have been contaminated. This act will protect people and families from unknowingly being exposed the bacteria, parasites and viruses found in raw sewage."

This bill (A10585A) requires Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs) or the operator of a publicly owned sewer system to report immediately or no later than two hours after discovery,

discharges of certain untreated or partially treated sewage and combined sewer overflows, to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the local health department. The report must also include:

  • the volume and treated state of the discharge
  • the date and time of the discharge
  • the expected duration of the discharge to the extent it is knowable
  • a brief description of the steps taken to contain the discharge
  • the location, with the maximum specificity possible
  • the reason for the discharge

In addition, no later than four hours after discovery, POTWs must notify the local health department and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the municipality in which the discharge occurred as well as any adjoining municipalities' CEOs that may be affected, and to the

general public. The DEC must post reported information on its website expeditiously, prepare an annual POTW discharge report each year; and prepare rules and regulations to provide for notification in situations that may present a threat to public health.