Saturday, April 16, 2022

Governor Hochul, Mayor Patterson-Howard, and County Executive Latimer Announce Historic Partnership to Address Longstanding Water Infrastructure Challenges in City of Mount Vernon

 Governor Hochul signs a $150 million three-way agreement for water infrastructure.

State to Direct $150 Million to Replace Aging Water and Sewer Infrastructure, Improve Quality of Life and Protect Public Health  

Governor Directs $7 Million to Immediately Launch Engineering, Design, and Construction of 'Third Street' Sewer Project

$8 Million Assistance Package to Fund Emergency Repairs and Jump Start Long-Term Planning for Lead Pipe Replacement    

$3 Million Awarded for Housing Remediation and Resiliency Pilot Program

 Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a historic $150 million investment and a precedent-setting three-way partnership with Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard and Westchester County Executive George Latimer to immediately advance work to address longstanding water infrastructure and related public health challenges that have plagued the city of Mount Vernon for decades. At an event at Mount Vernon's City Hall, the Governor also announced the immediate launch of the $7 million 'Third Street Sewer Project,' that, when complete, will ensure reliable wastewater service for 500 nearby households currently served by temporary pumps and a makeshift system staged in the street to ensure adequate wastewater collection.

"In too many communities of color like Mount Vernon, critical water infrastructure has been left to fall into disrepair, but today we are setting an example for the nation by advancing environmental justice, improving quality of life for residents, and addressing decades of disinvestment," Governor Hochul said. "When I met with Mayor Patterson-Howard and heard about the seriousness of this crisis in her city, I immediately directed my administration to coordinate with the city and the county and right this systemic wrong. I am so proud of our collective and collaborative efforts to deliver this transformative environmental justice victory."

In December, the Governor announced a $10 million Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program grant award from DEC to Mount Vernon that will improve water quality in the Hutchinson River by upgrading one portion of the city's municipal wastewater outfalls to prevent the discharge of raw sewage. This grant advances work required by the Federal Consent Decree. DEC also awarded a $75,000 Non-Point Planning Grant to support the mapping of Mount Vernon's municipal separate storm sewer systems to prevent polluted runoff from affecting local communities and the environment. In addition, EFC provided two Engineering Planning Grants totaling $200,000 in 2021. Additional State investments to help address Mount Vernon's wastewater infrastructure challenges include a $1.6 million WQIP grant awarded in 2016.

The Fiscal Year 2023 Enacted Budget builds upon New York State's commitments by including more than half a billion dollars in direct investment into clean water initiatives, including:

  • $500 million in clean water infrastructure funding, bringing the State's total clean water investment to $4.5 billion since 2017;
  • $400 million - a record level of funding - for the Environmental Protection Fund to support critical projects that work to mitigate the effects of climate change, improve agricultural resources, protect water sources, advance conservation efforts and provide recreational opportunities;
  • $4.2 billion for the landmark Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. If approved by voters this fall, this historic initiative will provide the support New York State needs to protect and improve our water resources, restore critical environmental habitats, reduce flood risks, conserve additional lands and open spaces, and invest in climate change mitigation projects that will reduce pollution and lower carbon emissions; and
  • Additional water quality protections with essential improvements to the State's wetlands protection program, safeguarding an estimated one million additional acres of unprotected wetlands habitat and helping New York adapt to increased flooding and severe storms fueled by climate change.

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