Understanding Troy’s Combined Sewer Infrastructure System

Understanding Troy’s Combined Sewer Infrastructure System

July 10, 2017

Dear Troy Residents,

There has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation regarding sewer overflows and its impact on our residents and the environment. I’d like to take a moment to address the issue of the health and safety of our community and the Hudson River, provide a clearer understanding of the issues facing river communities like Troy and outline the City’s efforts to improve our sewer infrastructure system.

Unfortunately, sewer overflow events are fairly routine for shoreline communities like Troy.

Earlier this month, communities across the Capital Region experienced heavy rains during a severe weather event. In the City of Troy, the influx of storm water runoff resulted in a discharge from the system into the Hudson River, commonly referred to as a combined sewer overflow (CSO), not a sewer spill as previously reported. These discharges are permitted by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) when precipitation events exceed the capacity of the County’s sewer interceptor line for runoff passing through the City’s sewer system.

Unfortunately, sewer overflow events are fairly routine for shoreline communities like Troy. Since the beginning of online reporting in November of 2016, the City of Troy has experienced over a dozen such events.

In accordance with the Sewage Pollution Right to Know Act, DEC requires that sewer discharges, or suspected discharges, are reported to them. Due to an oversight in scheduling, the City failed to file a singular report with DEC. This is the first time the City of Troy missed making a notification. In response, we have reached out to DEC regarding this oversight and will continue to work closely with all our local and state partners to ensure proper reporting requirements are met in the future. You can learn more about Combined Sewer Overflows on the DEC website here.

This recent event further highlights the need for continued efforts and investment to redirect storm runoff away from our combined system. As part of the CSO Albany Pool Long Term Control Plan, the City of Troy and several neighboring cities and towns have made significant investments into projects which expand the capacity of our sewer systems. These joint measures will lessen these types of events not only in Troy, but all the communities that are part of the plan and ensure the health of the Hudson River. This incident is a reminder of our responsibility to our environment and the steps necessary to proactively improve our infrastructure that was built decades ago.

This recent event further highlights the need for continued efforts and investment to redirect storm runoff away from our combined system.

Last month the City Council approved my administration’s plan to seek additional funds to support our efforts to clean up the Hudson River. We appreciate the support from bipartisan majority of the City Council who has backed my administration’s ongoing efforts to strengthen Troy’s sewer infrastructure network and ensure the continued health of our residents and the Hudson River ecosystem. We will continue to make the necessary improvements to our infrastructure networks in an effort to reduce or someday completely prevent sewer overflow events in the future.

Thank you.

Patrick Madden
Mayor, City of Troy

Download the full letter here: 071017 Mayor Madden letter – Combined Sewer Overflow System