Jay awarded $1.5M state boost for water projects
The town of Jay received $1.5 million in state funding last week to improve water quality in its wastewater treatment system and to restore a portion of the AuSable River, according to a press release from Gov. Kathy Hochul’s office.
A grant of $1 million will go toward the installation of an ultraviolet disinfection system at the AuSable Forks wastewater treatment plant. Ultraviolet waves are germicidal, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, purifying water by deactivating the bacteria present there.
The town of Keene was technically awarded $500,000 for a restoration project on the East Branch AuSable River. However, the money will only go toward restoring a portion of the river located in Jay, not for a portion of the river in the town of Keene, according to Ausable River Association Executive Director Kelly Tucker. The money will help with efforts to control erosion and flooding and improve water quality, habitats and functions in the river. Tucker said the river’s natural structure was destroyed from logging and granite mining in the 1800s and 1900s.
Jay and Keene jointly applied for the funding since the river flows in both towns, according to Keene town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson. Wilson said Keene has applied for restoration funding for the river from the state once in the past without luck, adding that the town plans to continue trying for it. He said Jay and Keene have been coordinating on the river’s restoration efforts for a few years now, and that Keene hopes to get in on the cycle of funding Jay has found itself in so the towns can treat the river as a system.
The money comes from the state Department of Conservation’s Water Quality Improvement Project program, which funds projects that will address compromised water sources or protect a water source, according to the DEC website. The program is part of the state’s 11th round of Regional Economic Development Council awards.
The state announced that a total of $750 million will fund projects throughout the state in this round of REDC awards. The REDC awards were created in 2011. Every year, regional councils established by the state meet and gather “priority projects” to submit to the state for possible funding. Since 2011, the state has doled out hundreds of millions of dollars in grants and tax credits through the REDC awards to projects statewide.
The town of AuSable also received $30,000 from this round of REDC funding, according to a Monday press release from Hochul’s office. The money will help the town evaluate its stormwater system rehabilitation and green infrastructure alternatives and recommend improvements to the stormwater collection system.