Filtration, Part II

Filtration, Part II

Given the size of the city, the New York City drinking water supply system has grown to be the largest unfiltered water supply in the United States and the largest surface water system in the world. Every day, it provides 1.2 billion gallons of high quality drinking water to nearly half of the population of New York State. Today, however, parts of New York City’s drinking water infrastructure are over 100 years old. The failure to maintain this basic service has created a massive backlog of repairs and upgrades. Governor Cuomo’s proposed $400 million five year annual budget for water projects barely put a dent in what is needed. Across New York State, urgency is mounting as water main breaks flood neighborhoods, sewage overflows discharge untreated waste into waterways, failing septic systems pollute land and waterways, and pipes leach lead. However, the Food and Water Watch states, “A 2009 study by the Clean Water Council estimated that every $1 billion spent on water infrastructure could create between 20,000 and 27,000 jobs across the economy. Governor Cuomo and the legislature could promote safe water and clean energy by creating jobs laying water pipelines instead of fossil fuel pipelines.”

An overhead photo of a large rectangular hole in the ground, about 6ft by 20ft in size. There is snow on the ground and the ground is dirt grey. There's five men in high visibility work wear and hard hats standing around the hole looking around. Tractors and trucks surround the scene.
Water main break near the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY. Photo credit: EANY. Link.

In 2020-2021 Governor Cuomo’s budget proposal included $500 million in new funding for water infrastructure projects. The Environmental Advocates of New York released the following statement, “We applaud the continued investment of $500 million in clean water funding. However, $500 million isn’t nearly enough to clear the backlog of shovel-ready water infrastructure projects across New York. The need in New York State is $80 billion to fix our pipes. At a time when our drinking water systems face increased costs from aging infrastructure and new threats from emerging contaminants like PFAS chemicals, we need to do better in order to protect our water for future generations.”

—Full quote found in the following article, “Environmental Advocates NY Responds to Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget Proposal”. 

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