Lupardo Calls for Early Warning System to Protect Southern Tier Water Supplies

Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo (D-Endwell) today called on the Governor and State Legislature to approve funding* for the Susquehanna River Basin Commission** (SRBC) to establish an early warning system for the Binghamton and Elmira drinking water suppliers. SRBC’s early warning system would help the Binghamton and Elmira water plants to protect their more than 300,000 Southern Tier customers from contamination spills.

The early warning system is based on state-of-the art monitoring and communication technology that collects and transmits real-time water quality data through the internet for advance spill notification. The system distributes data to downstream users, enabling timely responses to adverse changes in water quality.

In recent years, SRBC has successfully implemented the warning system for select Pennsylvania water suppliers with intakes in the Susquehanna River. With the supplemental funding, SRBC would work with the Binghamton and Elmira water supply plants to significantly enhance their monitoring capabilities. On-line analyzers would be installed allowing the plants to measure water-quality parameters instantaneously. Additionally, the Binghamton plant would be equipped with a device to detect complex organic contaminants. The plants also would have web site access to other critical information and tools such as maps, contaminant databases and time-of-travel calculators.

“In this post-9/11 environment, the early warning system can serve as an important tool for protecting the public health and safety of our New York citizens,” said Assemblywoman Lupardo. “Having real-time information on the location and type of contamination we’re dealing with and being able to calculate how far it will spread is absolutely vital.”

Lupardo said, “This technology exists now and I want to make it available to my constituents so we safe guard their water supplies. SRBC’s early warning system is a proven success and I urge my colleagues join me in this call for funding to expand the system into the Southern Tier region.”

* The SRBC has been funded at $200,000 per year for the past nine years although its expenses have steadily increased. Assemblywoman Lupardo is requesting that their funding be increased to $388,000 ($320,000 per year plus an additional $68,000 for the years to implement the Early Warning System).

** The Susquehanna River Basin Commission is the governing agency established under a 100-year compact signed on Dec. 24, 1970 by the federal government and the states of New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland to protect and wisely manage the water resources of the Susquehanna River Basin. The Susquehanna River starts in Cooperstown, N.Y., and flows 444 miles to Havre de Grace, Md., where the river meets the Chesapeake Bay