Local and State Officials, Labor Leaders and Environmental Advocates Call for Restoration of Clean Water Funding in State Budget

State Sen. Pete Harckham with Assemblymember Dana Levenberg, local officials, labor leaders and environmental advocates in Ossining. 2) Sen. Harckham with Ossining Water and Sewage Superintendent Andrew Tiess inside the Ossining Water Treatment Plant. Credit: Office of State Sen. Pete Harckham / Tom Staudter

New York State Senator Pete Harckham, along with Assemblymember Dana Levenberg, Ossining Town Supervisor Elizabeth Feldman, Ossining Village Manager Karen D’Attore, labor leaders and environmental advocates, collectively called today for restoring clean water infrastructure funding in the FY2024-2025 at a special press conference held at the Ossining Water Treatment Plant.

The Executive’s proposed FY2024-2025 State Budget calls for reducing clean water infrastructure funding by $250 million—a 50% cut from the previous year. The clean water funding has been maintained as part of the NY Clean Water Infrastructure Act at $500 million annually since 2019.

“This is not the time to reduce investments and go backwards on our commitment to safeguarding our fragile drinking water supplies and water infrastructure,” said Harckham. “As we proceed through budget negotiations, I am strongly insisting these crucial dollars be fully restored in our final agreement. Here in Ossining, we need investments to improve drinking water supplies, delivery systems and filtration facilities. Clean water infrastructure funding helps keep our communities safe and habitable, all while ensuring the costs do not get passed on to ratepayers.”

Harckham added that clean water infrastructure investments are public works projects with public service, union jobs that receive prevailing wages.

“This $500 million investment is also an annual human investment and an investment in the economy of Main Street,” he said.

Both the Senate and Assembly one-house budget proposals restored the cuts to clean water funding.

“We need at least $500 million for clean water infrastructure funding,” said Levenberg. “At a time when we are still working to remove lead service lines along with so many other chemicals and impurities from our water systems, we cannot decrease funding for this vital, life-sustaining infrastructure. All the municipalities in my district are aligned on this, and all are very concerned about the prospect of cuts in this funding.”

Levenberg added, “Water infrastructure is also incredibly important in the context of New York’s housing goals: if the Governor wants to build more housing, we must provide funding for this infrastructure, particularly to communities like Ossining, which are doing their part to add to our housing stock. The Assembly one-house budget proposal restores clean water infrastructure funding to $500 million, and along with my colleagues in the Assembly I am encouraging Speaker Heastie to continue to hold the line on this critical funding.”

Ossining is building a new Water Treatment Plant at the estimated cost of $97 million to replace the existing plant, which has reached the end of its useful life. In 2023, Ossining was awarded a $5 million WIIA grant to design and construct a new water treatment plant to replace the existing Indian Brook Water Treatment Plant. Ironically, more funding would have been available if the Ossining plant was out of compliance or damaged.

Ossining Mayor Rika Levin said, “For the sake of all New Yorkers, funding must be available for municipalities to invest in technology and capital improvements to meet the everchanging and evolving regulatory water treatment requirements. Funding essential infrastructure before it fails, is the most cost-effective, sustainable and responsible way to ensure the provision of clean water now and for the future.”

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