H2M’s Wastewater Projects Help Clean Up The GSB
By Christopher Weiss, P.E., Senior Vice President, Director of Wastewater Engineering
In November 2022, New York State passed the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, providing a historic $4.2 billion in funding for a wide range of environmental initiatives. This act is the largest environmental bond in the State’s history and aims to preserve, enhance, and restore New York’s natural resources while creating more than 84,000 local jobs.
The Environmental Bond Act generates funding through bonds, which are allocated to various environmental projects. These projects focus on improving water quality, protecting natural resources, reducing pollution, and promoting green job opportunities.
The funding allocations authorized by the Environmental Bond Act are as follows:
- $1.5 billion for climate change mitigation, including $500 million for electrifying school buses and $400 million for green building projects
- $1.1 billion for restoration and flood risk reduction, with at least $100 million dedicated to coastal rehabilitation, shoreline restoration, and addressing inland flooding
- $650 million for open space land conservation and recreation
- $650 million for water quality improvement and resilient infrastructure, with a minimum of $200 million for wastewater infrastructure projects and $250 million for municipal stormwater projects
One significant aspect of the bond act is its commitment to allocating a significant portion (at least 35% with a goal of 40%) of the funds to communities disproportionately affected by pollution and climate change. The implementation and administration of the bond act’s requirements will be overseen by agencies such as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Governor Kathy Hochul recently launched an educational listening tour for the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act in Buffalo. This tour emphasizes the state’s commitment to a collaborative and transparent process in delivering the funds allocated under the act. The tour provides a platform for engaging stakeholders and gathering input from local communities.
As a leading engineering and environmental consulting firm, H2M has been actively supporting our clients in identifying eligible projects and exploring opportunities to secure funding from the $4.2 billion available under the Environmental Bond Act.
H2M is currently under contract on the following projects, all of which are eligible for funding from the Environmental Bond Act:
- Incorporated Village of Patchogue Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade and Expansion: A $12 million wastewater treatment plant enhancement project with the goals of lowering nitrogen loading to the Great South Bay and increasing capacity to connect additional homes and commercial properties while eliminating existing septic systems
- Town of Riverhead Class A Biosolids Upgrade Project: A $10 million project to upgrade the Town’s wastewater treatment plant’s biosolids handling system to enable the reuse of biosolids locally and reduce the overall quantity of biosolids being trucked out of state, which ultimately reduces the ever-increasing cost to the residents of Riverhead, NY
In addition to the projects listed above, H2M looks to provide engineering services for the continued expansion of sewer systems to reduce nutrient loading to ground and surface waters and for the upgrade of treatment infrastructure to support the expansion and resiliency of sewer systems across New York.
Those projects include the East Hampton Montauk Sanitary Sewer District Creation, Kings Park Sanitary Sewer District Creation, and the Town of Smithtown Sanitary Sewer District Creation.
The Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act in New York State will be an advantageous way for municipalities to benefit from significant funding for environmental initiatives and job creation.