Thiele: New York State Assembly Passes Bills to Expand Access to Water Supply and Make Polluters Pay

This week, Assemblymember Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (D-Sag Harbor) announced that crucial legislation he sponsored to increase and protect access to water supply passed both houses during the 2022 legislative session. This package of bills includes:

  • A.2620 Ensures that polluters do not benefit from state assistance payments or grants made by the State Environmental Facilities Corporation, which currently help pay the costs for eligible projects that restore contaminated sources of water supply. This law guarantees that the compensation required from polluters is not reduced by the amount of such state assistance payment received by a municipality.
  • A.9736 Allows property owners on private roads to obtain water from a public water system by adding water lines to the list of utilities that can be installed by the owner of a plot without the approval of other landowners. This bill will expand access to public water supply across New York State.
  • A.9824A Gives retroactive effect to legislation clarifying the statute of limitations in litigation by public water providers against polluters involving emerging contaminants. This will give a judicial remedy to public water suppliers, like Suffolk County Water Authority, by making sure that they are able to intervene against polluters responsible for the contamination of sources of water supply from an emerging contaminant as such.

“Ratepayers should not face higher costs due to the inappropriate behaviors of polluters, who should instead be held responsible and pay for the damages they create to the environment, including sources of water supply”, said Assemblymember Fred Thiele. “These bills give needed remedies to public water suppliers and prevent polluters from benefitting from state assistance and grants. This will ensure that the polluter pays, not the taxpayer, in addressing pollution of our drinking water. I am proud this commonsense legislation passed the Senate and the Assembly, and I urge Governor Hochul to sign them into law.”

Jeff Szabo, Chief Executive Officer of Suffolk County Water Authority, said “The passage of this legislation protects our rights as drinking water providers to go to court and hold accountable those parties responsible for contaminating our groundwater. Our ratepayers, and New York taxpayers, should not be on the hook for cleaning up the mess that others knowingly caused. Our thanks to Assemblyman Thiele for taking the lead on this and standing up to the polluters.”