On January 4th, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York State Department of Health, in consultation with the departments of State and Agriculture and Markets, announced the creation of a statewide program to help municipalities develop and implement protection plans for their drinking water sources. This program, entitled the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2), will initially involve the state partnering with up to 30 municipalities to update drinking water assessments, develop plans to protect public water supply source water areas, and assist municipalities with plan implementation, and there will be no out-of-pocket costs to participating municipalities for plan development. The DWSP2 is expected to run for three years, with year one involving an intensive, collaborative effort to develop the DWSP2. The State will hire a consultant and develop a work plan to carry out the DWSP2 statewide. The consultant will work with selected municipalities and at the conclusion of the program, municipalities can expect to have a completed drinking water source protection plan in the first year, and assistance with identifying projects to begin implementation in years two and three.
Municipalities must be prepared to designate staff to work with the State-hired consultant and agency experts throughout DWSP2. The State will be asking the participating municipalities to assign a municipal engineer, local elected official (e.g., mayor, town supervisor, and/or member of municipal council/board), municipal planner (and/or planning board member), and drinking water operator to work on DWSP2 and to allow a portion of their time to be dedicated to the program. These staff will function as the liaison between the municipality, the consultant, and the State. Participants will also need to provide local information and regular feedback.
Municipalities that have already developed a drinking water source protection plan are able to participate in DWSP2 to help them enhance their current program. Municipalities will need to submit their current plan with their application. To apply, municipal officials should visit the Drinking Water Source Protection Program Applicants webpage (https://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/115262.html) and complete the online application by February 15, 2019.
Note that Steven Winkley, NYRWA’s Source Water Protection Specialist, has been working with the state agency staff as a member of the advisory group that helped draft the DWSP2 and the program guidance that is being developed for the new program. If you have questions, you can contact him as well.