Bill Memo: Rain Ready NY Act

1-Tree: Beneficial rating


This bill amends the public authorities law to include stormwater in the definition of sewage for the purposes of water and sewer authorities.


This legislation clarifies the powers of water and sewer authorities throughout the state to manage stormwater and adopt policies to bolster climate resiliency and improve water quality, if they so choose. This legislation does not require any action by water or sewer authorities.

The climate crisis has made extreme weather events more frequent and intense across New York, with heavier rainfall causing significant flooding and property damage. These rains also overwhelm outdated sewer and stormwater infrastructure. In communities with combined sewer systems, where sewage and stormwater run through the same pipes, even mild rains can cause sewage overflows into waterways. Sewage overflows make swimming dangerous and harm the health of our lakes and rivers.

Water and sewer authorities currently have clear legal authority to manage sewage within their systems, but their authority to regulate stormwater is not as clear. By including a definition of stormwater in the public authorities law, this bill will provide authorities a solid legal foundation to, for example, implement policies to fund green infrastructure improvements that help divert and absorb excess stormwater in urban areas. Such policies could include differentiating water and sewer charges from the cost of stormwater management or creating incentive programs or credits for stormwater management.

Communities across New York need greater protection from extreme flooding and threats to their water quality. This bill will help accelerate the adoption of green infrastructure and other solutions to keep New Yorkers and our environment safe, healthy, and resilient.

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Environmental Advocates NY Bill Rating: Beneficial

Memo #: 47