Important information for local governments on State Clean Water Grants was provided at the annual workshop hosted by Assemblyman Steve Otis (AD-91) and the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation for Westchester local governments, environmental groups and engineering firms held at the Jay Heritage Center in Rye. The state clean water grant application period for 2021 is now open.
The Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) is the state agency responsible for NYS’s clean water infrastructure grants for local municipalities. Assemblyman Otis has hosted these annual workshops with senior staff from the EFC every year since the enactment of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, which was initiated to assist Westchester communities in securing grant funding from state clean water programs.
This year’s workshop was co-hosted by the Federated Conservationists of Westchester (FCWC), Jay Heritage Center, Save the Sound, the Westchester Municipal Officials Associations (WMOA) and the Construction Industry Council of Westchester and the Hudson Valley (CIC).
The October 20th workshop included presentations from EFC and responses to questions from local officials about this year’s grant process and answers to inquiries specific to individual local governments.
The workshops have been very helpful in encouraging successful applications from across Westchester and for applicants to learn more about the process, application information specific to the current year funding round and background on other EFC programs. The application round is now open. Grant applications must be submitted to NYSWaterGrants@efc.ny.gov no later than 5:00 pm on Monday, November 22, 2021. For additional information and to register for an upcoming webinar on Tuesday, November 2nd at 2:00 pm, please visit the EFC website at www.efc.ny.gov.
Assemblyman Otis, who helped initiate the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2015, said, “Westchester local governments have been awarded $45.5 million in state grants since this program was initiated in 2015. The workshops, as well as outreach by our co-host organizations have helped generate quality applications from Westchester and brought more state dollars to help fund our local clean water projects.”
John T. Cooney, Jr. Executive Director, Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., and a founding member of Clean Water Jobs Coalition said, “On the surface, the Long Island Sound and the Hudson River glisten as they serve as the undisputed epicenters of the region with their vast stretches of natural beauty, as unparalleled attractions for commerce and recreation," said John Cooney, Jr., executive director of the Construction Industry Council of Westchester & Hudson Valley, Inc., and a founding member of Clean Water Jobs Coalition. Yet, as picturesque as they may appear, both bodies of water also play vitally protective roles as the entry points for many of the region’s wastewater and aging infrastructure facilities. As these systems begin to fail, it is critical that municipalities along the shoreline and throughout the region modernize and repair their wastewater treatment and drinking water systems.”
Anne Janiak, Executive Director of the Westchester Municipal Officials Association said, “These grant programs were established after municipal officials across the state requested them. They have been instrumental in moving large water infrastructure projects forward, aiding municipalities that would otherwise struggle to do them on their own and providing relief to taxpayers by providing the grant funding to complete them. Hosting information sessions has been a key way to get more municipalities to take advantage of these state grants.”
Peter H. Linderoth, Director of Water Quality for Save the Sound said, “Investments and upgrades are critical to the responsible upkeep of wastewater infrastructure. This process facilitates the preservation and restoration of water quality in our rivers, bays, and the open waters of Long Island Sound. Every community deserves to have access to clean water in which they can swim, fish, boat and enjoy. This program has been instrumental in rapidly upgrading deteriorating infrastructure and provides municipalities the resources to proactively address water pollution in their jurisdictions.”
Anne Jaffe Holmes of FCWC said, “Thanks to the dedicated efforts of Assemblyman Steve Otis and his colleagues in the legislature, funding is being made available from New York State for municipalities in need of wastewater and drinking water infrastructure repairs and upgrades. With the intensification of flooding events due to climate change, the Federated Conservationists of Westchester County urges Westchester municipalities with aging and inadequate water infrastructure to consider EFC’s Water Infrastructure Grant Programs and Other Clean Water Financing Opportunities.”
The 2021 grant round of funding was announced by Governor Hochul in September. The biggest portion of the funding is $400 million in grants through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act program (WIIA) and the Intermunicipal Grant (IMG) program, which have received tremendous response by local governments, environmental and construction groups in helping upgrade our clean water infrastructure.
To date, WIIA and IMG have provided $1.2 billion in grants to local governments, including the $4.5 million to Westchester municipalities for important clean water projects. The WIIA and IMG grants will again be administered by the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC), which has done a great job of working with local governments during the application process, expediting post approval contracting and getting funds to municipal awardees.
Governor Hochul also announced an additional $200 million being added to the Water Quality Improvement Project Program (WQIP) as part of the 2021 CFA funding round, which has already occurred. Those applications are now being evaluated. In addition, the governor announced that the Publicly Owned Treatment Works Asset Management Program will make $10 million available to establish asset management programs that will help municipalities monitor, protect, and responsibly plan upgrades for wastewater infrastructure systems, at no cost. An additional $5 million in Green Innovation Grant (GIG) Program funding will be available to communities that utilize unique stormwater infrastructure design and create cutting-edge green technologies to mitigate the impact of climate change. Information about these funding sources will be included in the workshop.
Assemblyman Otis’s office is available to help applicants in this important funding opportunity and to support applications throughout the process. Applicants can contact the district office at 914-939-7028 for more information.