New York directs $168 million to upgrade town’s crumbling sewage system

(UC) — After the docu-series “Wasteland” brought attention to the failure of the water and sewer system in Mount Vernon, New York, Governor Kathy Hochul announced $168 million in investments for replacements and upgrades.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $168 million state investment into Mount Vernon's sewer and water systems.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a $168 million state investment into Mount Vernon's sewer and water systems.

The announcement comes months after the series premiered, CBS News reported. The show is available on Paramount+.

The investment should immediately advance work to address longstanding water infrastructure and related public health challenges that have plagued Mount Vernon for decades, the governor’s announcement said.

At an event at Mount Vernon's City Hall, Hochul also announced the launch of a $7 million 'Third Street Sewer Project,' that, when complete, will ensure reliable wastewater service for 500 nearby households currently served by temporary pumps and a makeshift system staged in the street to ensure adequate wastewater collection.

Another $8 million will fund emergency repairs and jump start long-term planning for lead pipeline replacement, the announcement said.

"In too many communities of color like Mount Vernon, critical water infrastructure has been left to fall into disrepair, but today we are setting an example for the nation by advancing environmental justice, improving quality of life for residents, and addressing decades of disinvestment," Hochul said. 

Thousands of residents are suffering from sewage backup problems and related health issues, and sewage flooding is making its way into the Hutchinson and Bronx rivers, Westchester County Executive George Latimer said.

“Mount Vernon's pipes are old, corroded and overburdened, and I am eager to begin this three-way partnership between the state, the county and the city to fix it,” he said.

In December, the governor announced a $10 million Water Quality Improvement Project program grant award from DEC to Mount Vernon that will improve water quality in the Hutchinson River by upgrading one portion of the city's municipal wastewater outfalls to prevent the discharge of raw sewage. This grant advances work required by the Federal Consent Decree.

Additional state investments to help address Mount Vernon's wastewater infrastructure challenges include a $1.6 million WQIP grant awarded in 2016.


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