Editorial: Don’t skimp on funding to protect water

Mar 27, 2019

What does 2.5 billion gallons of raw sewage smell like?

What does it taste like? What does it feel like on your skin?

What harmful effects does it have on your body when you swallow it or swim in it?

What does 2.5 billion gallons of raw sewage do to the fish and the plants and the other wildlife in the environment?

You probably don’t want to know. No, you definitely don’t want to know.

But that’s how much untreated sewage wound up in the Hudson and Mohawk rivers in just the past year, mostly from damaged and overburdened treatment facilities along the two local rivers.

Statewide, more than 2,500 discharges were reported in the past year, resulting in more than 6 billion gallons of waste being released into waterways across New York.

A report from the state comptroller in 2017 estimated the state would need about $61 billion over the next 20 years in investments to its drinking water systems. Reports from the state departments of Environmental Conservation and Health estimate the need over the next 20 years at $38 billion for critical repairs and replacements to drinking water infrastructure and $36 billion to wastewater infrastructure — nearly $75 billion.

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