CDRPC is a key partner and facilitator of several regional environmental programs that concern water quality, sewer systems, stormwater runoff and climate. These programs include the 604(b) Clean Water and MS4 Storm Sewer programs that focus on water quality and the Combined Sewer Overflow and the Climate Smart Communities.
604(b) Clean Water Program
The federal Clean Water Act provides for funding to states for regional water quality management planning activities. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awards 604(b) grants to states, which in turn make awards to regional planning and interstate organizations.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation provides the availability of funds for Water Quality Management Planning programs that promote regional comprehensive water quality management planning activities as described in Section 604(b) of the federal Clean Water Act. Clean Water Act, Section 604(b) funding provides the financial source for states and territories to pursue water quality planning under Sections 205(j) and 303(e) of the Clean Water Act. This program authorizes the awarding of funds through the Environmental Protection Agency to states for water quality assessment and management planning grants. The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act mandated that 40% of each state’s award be granted, or “passed through”, to Regional Public Comprehensive Planning Organizations (RPCPOs) and Interstate Organizations (IOs).
MS4 Stormwater Program
In 1990, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) adopted Phase I Stormwater rules under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit following amendments to the Clean Water Act. Phase I covered large and medium sized Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Typically Phase I communities had populations of 100,000 or more. Construction activity disturbing five or more acres and certain industrial activities were also affected by the rule.
Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Abatement
The Capital District Regional Planning Commission has taken the lead in organizing a consortium to develop a comprehensive inter-municipal Phase I Long-Term Control Plan (LTCP) for Combined Sewer Overflows (CSO): overflows from combined storm & sanitary sewers discharging into the Hudson River Estuary. The participating Albany Pool communities are the Albany Water Board; the cities of Cohoes, Rensselaer, Troy and Watervliet; and the Village of Green Island. Each community currently has its own State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit. The Albany & Rensselaer County Sewer Districts are also partners in the consortium.
The Albany Pool of the Hudson River currently has 92 Combined Sewer Overflow points. Combined sewer systems are designed to discharge directly to surface bodies of water such as rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters during wet weather when total flows exceed the capacity of the combined sewer system or the treatment plant.
In 2007, the Pool Communities began working together to develop a joint Long Term Control Plan. The plan was created to study the current health of the Hudson River, identify programs and projects that will aid in the clean-up of the river, and through a sophisticated modeling system and post construction testing program, and demonstrate the effectiveness of the program.
Working with the Department of Environmental Conservation, the Pool will implement more than 50 projects and programs that will significantly improve the water quality of the Hudson River and its tributaries.
Rain Barrel Education and Discounts
Rain barrels can provide homeowners with access to free rainwater for irrigation, gardens and washing vehicles. When installed under a downspout that would otherwise drain to an impervious surface, the barrels can help reduce combined sewer overflows and improve water quality for receiving waters. Recognizing the benefits of rain barrels, the Albany County Soul and Water Conservation District sells barrels for $80. In 2018, the Albany County Water Quality Coordinating Committee launched a rain barrel education discount program in partnership with CDRPC. The Committee leverages their funds to offer rain barrels for a discounted price of $40. Because rain barrels are only effective when installed and used properly, the Committee stipulated that to receive the discount, purchases must attend a brief education session. CDRPC has been offering training (roughly a 10 minute presentation) to several groups including many City of Albany Neighborhood Associations. To arrange for a training and be eligible for discounted barrel, contact Martin Daley, CDRPC. Please note the program is being offered only as funding and supplies last. Because the committee purchases the barrels on a monthly basis, it may be up to 30 days wait for the delivery of a barrel.
Below, find helpful resources on the benefits, installation and maintenance of rain barrels.