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Publicly Owned Sewer Systems Now Required To Report and Notify Of Combined Sewer Overflows

In 2012, the Sewer Pollution Right to Know Act (SPRTKA) was signed into law in New York State. This law requires that owners of publicly owned sewer systems (POSSs) advise the public when raw or partially treated sewage, including combined sewer overflows (CSOs), is discharged into New York’s waterways. On November 9 2016, the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) regulations implementing the SPRTKA took effect.

The new rules establish a registration program as a new regulatory mechanism for POSSs and required POSS owners to register their facilities by December 9, 2016. As part of the program, POSSs must report untreated or partially treated sewage discharges to the DEC and the local department of health (or the New York State Department of Health) “immediately, but in no case later than two hours from discovery of the discharge.” POSS owners must also submit “daily reports” for each day that the discharge continues after the date that the initial discharge report is made. On the day the discharge terminates, a POSS owner may submit a “termination report” in lieu of the daily report. However, partially treated sewage discharged directly from a POSS that is in compliance with a DEC approved plan or permit does not need to be reported.

To view the final DEC rule implementing SPRTKA, click here.

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