DEC, DOH launching water source protection initiative

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — New York’s Departments of Health (DOH) and Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Monday announced an initiative to protect drinking water sources statewide. The departments say the state will help municipalities develop long-term plans to protect their public water supplies.

As part of the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2), up to 40 volunteer communities will develop programs that proactively protect public drinking water supplies at no cost to those communities. DWSP2 is a multi-agency initiative led by DEC and DOH, in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture and Markets and the Department of State.

To assist communities, New York State released a draft assistance guide to develop drinking water source protection plans. Technical assistance providers will use the framework to help each municipality. The framework is currently in a field-testing stage and community participation and feedback will be used as the guidelines are finalized.

In addition to the creation of the program, each community will begin activities focused on preventing the pollution of water sources and minimizing their effects when it does occur. To help with this, a municipality can:

  • Work with a landowner to utilize a piece of property that is near drinking water supplies
  • Make use of available state and federal funding, programs, and other resources
  • Establish a protective buffer or develop local protective zoning around their source that controls activities or land uses that can threaten the water supply
  • Look at existing possible threats and conduct activities to address that specific threat
  • Create education campaigns to help residents understand their part in protecting the water

Communities interested in the Drinking Water Source Protection Program can learn more on DEC’s website or contact source.water@dec.ny.gov.

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