This legislation amends the tax law to establish a sanitary sewer lateral pipe replacement or repair personal tax credit. Given the importance of maintaining our aging wastewater infrastructure, this bill enables individual taxpayers to repair or replace aging pipes on their property that can contribute to sewage spills and overflows which pose a threat to human health and the health of our lakes, streams, and rivers.
A lateral sewer line is a privately-owned pipeline connecting a property to the publicly-owned main sewer line. Maintaining and repairing lateral pipes is the responsibility of the property owner, which often can cost thousands of dollars and be cost-prohibitive for middle- and lower-class families. Aging lateral sewer pipes can clog, spring leaks, and become damaged by tree roots, all of which place additional stress on municipal wastewater systems and contribute to sewage spills and overflows.
We are fortunate in New York State to have abundant freshwater resources. Keeping our water clean is critical for human health, the environment and a sustainable economic future. Tens of billions of gallons of untreated sewage and stormwater are discharged annually into New York’s waterways, causing people and wildlife to get sick, beaches to close, and ultimately affecting our way of life. In 2008, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation estimated that it would cost $36.2 billion to fix our municipal wastewater infrastructure over 20 years. New York State needs to fix our aging wastewater infrastructure, including the private sewer lines that are part of our larger municipal sewer systems.
This bill establishes a personal income tax credit to encourage property owners to repair or replace their lateral sewer pipelines, when recommended by a certified plumber or the presiding municipality. The credit is 25 percent of the cost of the repair or replacement. The total amount of tax credits available is $5 million dollars annually.