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Stormwater Utility District Grant

Governor George E. Pataki and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation announced the award in June 2004 of a $228,000 Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) grant to the Village of Scarsdale, acting as administrative agent for LISWIC. "The Creation of a Regional Stormwater District for the Lower Long Island Sound Drainage Basin" will be funded as follows: $100,000 EPF grant, $45,000 cash and $83,000 in in-kind services from participating municipalities. At this juncture, nine municipalities (The Cities of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Rye; the Town of Mamaroneck, the Town/Village of Scarsdale; the Villages of Mamaroneck, Pelham, Port Chester and Rye Brook) have agreed to participate in this grant. The remaining three (Harrison, Larchmont and Pelham Manor) will be invited to participate again, as will neighboring Eastchester and White Plains who are also in the Lower Long Island Sound watershed. Further support was realized in September 2004 from State Senator Suzi Oppenheimer who provided a $3,000 grant.

The participating LISWIC communities propose to retain an experienced environmental and/or engineering firm to conduct the investigation and analyses necessary to answer various questions concerned with management, jurisdiction, and financing a regional stormwater management district. The participating LISWIC communities have completed a considerable amount of work relative to the establishment of a regional stormwater management district to better manage surface water runoff and plan, monitor, maintain, and construct facilities that will enhance the overall management and control of stormwater with a dedicated funding source. The project proposal is to undertake further analysis and investigation relative to the operations and management of the stormwater district and create a regional district that will be able to develop and implement five detailed plans:

  • a long-range basin and watershed plan to coordinate and implement activities associated with water quality issues;
  • creation of an operations and maintenance plan that will include activities such as street sweeping, catch-basin cleaning, storm drain repair and replacement;
  • a model Capital Improvement Plan that will guide the acquisition, construction, replacement and renovation of facilities and equipment needed to address the region-wide infrastructure;
  • a source control plan to advance the use of Best Management Practices; and
  • a public education and citizen involvement plan relative to land use and human activities that impact water quality.

After a great deal of debate and discussion including presentations to eleven of the LISWIC member municipal boards, a draft of a proposed state law was produced that would create a stormwater management district for municipalities in the Lower Long Island Sound watershed.

The proposed law includes numerous issues that must be addressed by a consultant and then brought to the participating governments; hence, the need for the grant. The law's concept is to create a fee supported entity that would address all stormwater management issues for communities in the drainage basin. Because it would be fee supported, this district approach would allow for implementation of a comprehensive capital improvement, operations and maintenance program that would benefit all communities without placing any further burden on already stressed municipal budgets. This approach may allow municipalities to shift existing budget appropriations to other priorities or even reduce taxes at the local level.

The idea of a regional approach to address the impacts of stormwater pollution is not new. In fact, stormwater utilities exist in many other parts of the country and operate with great success. Most of those districts however, are operated at either the county or state level. This proposal is innovative because the district will be governed by the municipalities themselves through a district board.

This grant would implement an important aspect of the Environmental Protection Agency's Phase II requirements with which all Westchester County municipalities must comply.

For additional information on Phase II and Stormwater Utility Districts, please download the SUD fact sheet.

For more information about stormwater pollution prevention and what you can do everyday to reduce stormwater pollution, click here.

Infiltration and Inflow Grant

A major contributor to water pollution in Long Island Sound is improper sewer connections in the home that divert rainwater into the sanitary sewer system.

Westchester's sanitary sewage and stormwater runoff pipes are designed to be separate systems. The sanitary sewer system carries wastewater from plumbing systems into sewage treatment plants. The storm sewer system carries stormwater into Long Island Sound. However, because of the age of these underground systems, cracks, leaks and faulty joints in the lines, stormwater infiltrates into the sanitary system.

Additionally, improper connections of household roof leaders, sump pumps, driveway, garage and yard drains take stormwater and send it directly into the sanitary sewer. During heavy rains, this overloads the sewage treatment plants causing untreated sewage to be discharged into Long Island Sound. The discharge causes beach closures because of high bacteria counts. In some areas, the excess water causes sewer backups into streets and basements.

Westchester County was ordered by the Environmental Protection Agency and New York State to correct these problems, known as infiltration and inflow (I & I), and as a result, required local governments to enforce the correction of these illegal connections.

In 1999, the Town of Mamaroneck on behalf of LISWIC, applied for and received a grant under the Environmental Protection Fund. The original grant award was for $100,000 (with a $50,000 match) which was later adjusted to $42,000 ($21,000 match) because of the reduction in the amount spent for the brochure and for the engineering work (see next paragraph).

The grant's purpose was to form the Long Island Sound Watershed Intermunicipal Council (LISWIC), to prepare a brochure to explain I & I to residents and the need for correction of violations, and to conduct a feasibility study pertaining to stormwater management resulting from the correction of I & I work.

Two LISWIC sub-committees were formed. The Technical Committee worked diligently and met numerous times to write and edit the brochure, to interview design people and to obtain printers' bids. The four-color brochure was completed and distributed to the municipalities in November 1999. (A copy of the brochure can be downloaded below). The Engineering Committee prepared a Request For Proposals, and then held a pre-submission conference with the seven responding firms. The Committee selected Dolph Rotfeld Engineering. The engineering report, "Evaluation of Storm Water Conveyance Systems" was finalized and distributed in December 2001.

Code Enforcement Grant

In 2000, the Town of Mamaroneck again wrote a grant proposal for LISWIC. This time for money for code enforcement of infiltration and inflow (I & I) compliance. The Environmental Protection Fund grant was awarded and the contract received at the end of April 2001. A Code Enforcement Person Committee was formed as the original grant was written to hire a Code Enforcement individual. As data pertaining to the number of illegal hookups by municipality was collected, the committee realized that it was not feasible for one person to do the job. The Department of State allowed the grant to be amended with LISWIC receiving $50,000 with a $50,000 match for municipal code enforcement. The distribution of funds was based upon written demonstration of municipal compliance based upon 2/3s of the number of illegal connections and 1/3 of the population.

Download the LISWIC Brochure "Correcting Improper Sewer Hookups and How You Can Help Clean Up Long Island Sound"