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Public Comment Period Extended for Water Withdrawal Guidance

The deadline to submit written comments on Technical and Operational Guidance Series (TOGS) 1.3.12, “Incorporation of Flow-Related Conditions in Water Withdrawal Permits”, has been extended until the close of business Wednesday, January 20, 2016. This TOGS may be viewed on DEC’s website.

When there are large withdrawals from a water body, DEC must consider the amount of water that should be allowed to continue downstream (passby flows or reservoir releases) for other withdrawal uses and to provide protection for aquatic habitats. TOGS 1.3.12 will guide DEC on how to determine these protective flows or releases and incorporate adequate requirements into corresponding water withdrawal permits.

Biological Assessment of the Susquehanna River in the Vicinity of Binghamton

The Division of Water’s Stream Biomonitoring Unit has completed a report on biological sampling of the Susquehanna River in the vicinity of Binghamton, conducted in 2014. The purpose of this survey was to investigate water quality impacts caused by the failure of the Binghamton Johnson City Sewage Treatment Plant and subsequent reliance on primary treatment with disinfection for a several year period while a new plant is designed and built. Benthic macroinvertebrate communities inhabiting the river were sampled to determine the effects of the discharge on aquatic life.

Sewage effluent discharged by the damaged treatment plant is having a dramatic negative impact on water quality within the upper section of this reach of the Susquehanna River. This degradation is measurable for more than one mile downstream from the plant. Macroinvertebrate communities that were sampled upstream and downstream of the discharge from the plant clearly show water quality is non-impacted above the treatment plant and is moderately impacted by sewage discharge at points as far as one mile below the plant. The results of the survey suggest that benthic macroinvertebrate community and water quality do recover further downstream.

The report is available on the Susquehanna River Watershed Reports webpage.

Flood Control Projects Completed in Western New York

The DEC, in cooperation with the United States Army Corps of Engineers, has completed two flood control projects in western New York. The two projects, funded through the NY Works program, totaled over $6.8 million in improvements.

Lackawanna Smokes Creek Channel Improvement

The Lackawanna Smokes Creek Flood Control Project (FCP) removed approximately 36,000 cubic yards of sediment and cleared all woody vegetation within the project limits. Dredging work is now complete and the channel banks have been restored and seeded.

Cayuga Creek Flood Control Project

The dredging project at the Cayuga Creek Flood Control Project in Lancaster removed cumulated sediment, debris and vegetation that was reducing the storage capacity of the channel threatening the ability to safely and effectively pass flood waters. Maintenance dredging of Cayuga Creek was necessary to restore the 1.5 mile channel to its as-built condition preserving the Project’s flood protection purpose.

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