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DEC Contact: Jeff Wernick (518) 402-8000
PressOffice@dec.ny.gov

September 10, 2021

DEC AND TOWN OF ROXBURY ANNOUNCE ACQUISITION OF CRITICAL LANDS TO PROTECT WATER QUALITY IN DELAWARE COUNTY

Supported by $162,000 New York State WQIP Grant, 14-Acre Acquisition Will Help Protect Town’s Drinking Water Supply

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the town of Roxbury today announced the acquisition of a 14-acre parcel as part of New York State’s Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Program. DEC awarded Roxbury a more than $162,000 WQIP grant for this project, which will help protect the town’s drinking water and overall water quality in the Delaware River region. 

“The Delaware River watershed is a critical environmental, recreational, and public health resource, and DEC is committed to ensuring its water quality is protected,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “DEC continues to work with local partners like the town of Roxbury to invest in source water protection projects through the State’s Water Quality Improvement Project Program and we applaud the town for pursuing this acquisition and building upon New York’s ongoing efforts to safeguard our drinking water supplies.”  

“This project will help ensure that Roxbury’s public drinking water supply will be protected well into the future, as well as other sources,” said Roxbury Supervisor Allen Hinkley. “As a small community, Roxbury is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with DEC to make projects like this possible.” 

The 14-acre parcel along the East Branch of the Delaware River includes the town’s wells. In addition to protecting the drinking water supply for the town of Roxbury, this acquisition is located in the New York City watershed. The parcel was previously used for agricultural activities and is adjacent to a state highway. By increasing land ownership around the town’s wells, the town has increased the level of protection from uses that could potentially impair the groundwater, such as development and associated runoff. 

Additional DEC Efforts to Protect Drinking Water Sources 

In May, DEC and the New York State Department of Health (DOH) announced a new initiative to assist municipalities with developing and supporting drinking water source protection programs, the Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2). As part of DWSP2, communities can take advantage of a number of implementation strategies to protect their source of drinking water. Implementation strategies may include zoning ordinances, intermunicipal agreements, training, or land acquisition. For communities who choose to use land acquisition as an implementation strategy, WQIP land acquisition funds could be a great resource for them to protect their source water.
 

As part of the DWSP2, up to 40 volunteer communities will work with technical assistance partners to develop programs that proactively protect public drinking water supplies. DWSP2 is a multi-agency initiative led by DEC and DOH, in collaboration with the Departments of Agriculture and Markets (AGM) and State (DOS). 

To learn more about the Drinking Water Source Protection Program, visit the DEC website.  

New York’s Ongoing Commitment to Clean Water 

New York State continues to increase investments for clean water infrastructure projects, including the State's unprecedented $4 billion commitment to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to clean water. As part of the State's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), the WQIP supports projects to improve water quality, reduce the potential for harmful algal blooms (HABs), and protect drinking water across the state. DEC has announced more than $37 million for 37 land acquisition projects to date. In addition to land acquisition projects for source water protection, WQIP grants are awarded for municipal wastewater treatment, nonagricultural nonpoint source abatement and control, salt storage, and aquatic habitat restoration. 
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