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News from the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

DEC Encourages New Yorkers to Learn about Harmful Algal Blooms as Warm Weather Starts

DEC Releases New Brochure to Help Residents Detect, Avoid, and Report HABs

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today encouraged New Yorkers to learn about Harmful Algal Blooms, or "HABs," as DEC's 2017 HABs notification season starts on May 26, and the weather becomes warmer.

To help educate the public about HABs, also known as blue green algae, DEC released a new brochure explaining how to detect, avoid and report HABs, as well as the health risks of HABs. "Harmful algal blooms, commonly known as HABs, impact many of New York's lakes," said Commissioner Basil Seggos. "DEC is working to help New Yorkers better understand how to identify and report a bloom, as well as how to keep themselves and their families and pets safe. We're also working with localities to safeguard water supplies across the state."

Most algae are harmless, but exposure to toxins and other substances from harmful algal blooms can make people and animals sick. HABs can impact drinking water and recreation, and cause unpleasant odors.

"With warmer weather comes the need for increased vigilance in detecting harmful algal blooms that have the potential to invade our lakes and compromise their use for drinking and recreational purposes," said Health Commissioner Howard Zucker. "These new resources complement existing information designed to further educate New Yorkers about algal blooms and expand New York's aggressive efforts to safeguard public health."

HABs vary in appearance from scattered green dots in the water, to long, linear green streaks, pea soup or spilled green paint, to blue-green or white coloration. People, pets and livestock should avoid contact with water that is discolored or has algal scums on the surface. If a bloom is present, do not use the water and inform the DEC HABs Program at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Any symptoms or health concerns related to HABs should be reported to the NYS Department of Health at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

HABs have been detected in nearly 300 water bodies since 2012. To address HABs, DEC works with the NYS Department of Health, NYS Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, and other state and local partners.

While the exact cause of HABs is not fully understood, blooms occur most often in waters high in phosphorus and/or nitrogen. New York State has many programs and activities to reduce phosphorus and nitrogen from entering the water from surrounding lands, including stormwater permitting programs, funding for water quality improvement projects, and a nutrient law that restricts the use of phosphorus lawn fertilizer.

DEC has also released a new Program Guide that details how the DEC HABs Program works with partners to identify, track and report HABs throughout the state, and communicate health risks to the public.

For more information about HABs, including bloom notifications, which are updated each week during the summer and fall, visit DEC's Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) web page. The HABs brochure and program guide, which includes information and links to resources regarding bloom prevention, management, and control, can also be downloaded from the DEC website. Visit the Department of Health's HAB guidelines, "Know, Avoid, Report" (leaves DEC website) web page for more information.

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Register for the Genesee River Bash

A Rochester River Romance Event

Saturday Evening 

October 7th, 2017


Port of Rochester Terminal Building, 1000 North River St. Rochester, NY

A River Celebration featuring Food, Music and Entertainment 

With Awards, Networking, Silent Auction and Exhibits from Outdoor Lifestyle Suppliers and River-Focused Organizations

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Genesee RiverWatch improves the water quality of the Genesee River and its tributaries to create environmental, recreational and economic assets for its communities.  We also connect people to the river, encouraging them to explore, experience and celebrate the river.


DEC is announcing that a report on investigation of the lower Genesee River is now available. The investigation assessed the effects of historic releases from Kodak’s operations at the Eastman Business Park (EBP) located in Rochester, New York. The investigation identified EBP-related contamination of certain river sediments, wetland/floodplain soils, and biota (fish/mussels) that has the potential to adversely affect ecological receptors at some locations. The investigation also identified the potential for human exposures to EBP-related contaminated wetland/floodplain soils and biota (fish/mussels). The primary EBP-related contaminant of concern is silver. While the potential for adverse risk to ecological and human receptors appears to be relatively low and localized, DEC will undertake a Corrective Measures Study (CMS) to further evaluate these exposure pathways, and to identify and evaluate possible cleanup options that could be taken to reduce exposures.
The CMS step will involve work plan development, implementation and reporting. DEC also expects that additional environmental sampling will need to be performed in 2017 to gather information necessary to effectively identify and evaluate possible cleanup options. DEC expects the CMS report that follows in 2018 will provide a basis for a proposed remedy for releases to the Genesee River associated with Kodak’s historic operations at Eastman Business Park. DEC will seek public comment on the proposed remedy before making a final remedy determination for the lower Genesee River.

This work is funded through an environmental trust created during settlement of Kodak’s bankruptcy. DEC is administering the environmental trust and directing the investigation and remedial assessment of the lower Genesee River.

The investigation included:
• Sampling and chemical analyses of sediment, surface water, and suspended sediment in the lower river, wetland-floodplain soils adjoining the lower river, benthic macroinvertebrates (e.g., mussels) and fish
• Physical characterizations of the river channel, river flows and potential historic and cultural resources in the river
• Assessing sediment toxicity
• Assessing groundwater conditions at the Kings Landing (EBP) Wastewater Treatment Plant
• Assessing sediment bed mobility
• Assessing upstream sites potentially impacting the lower river
• Assessing types and diversity of benthic macroinvertebrates and fish in the lower river

The investigation report can be accessed through DEC’s website:
The investigation report is also available at the document repositories listed below.
This project is being handled under DEC’s Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA) regulatory program that requires cleanups (corrective action) for environmental releases from operating hazardous waste management facilities like the Eastman Business Park site.

Where to Find Information – Document Repositories
Project documents are also available at the following location(s) to help the public to stay informed.
Maplewood Community Library
1111 Dewey Ave
Rochester, NY 14613
Greece Public Library
2 Vince Tofany Blvd
Rochester, NY 14612
We encourage you to share this fact sheet with neighbors and tenants, and/or post this fact sheet in a prominent area of your building for others to see.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Rochester Embayment Environmental

Quality Meeting Topic

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Monroe County Department of Public Health will host a public meeting at 7 p.m. on November 17, 2015, at the Roger Robach Community Center, 180 Beach Avenue, to discuss improvements in the environmental quality of the Rochester Embayment.


In 1987, the Rochester Embayment was designated as an Area of Concern (AOC) by the U.S.-Canada Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, indicating that it is a location that has experienced environmental degradation. 

The Monroe County Department of Public Health, together with many valued partners, has lead an initiative for many years known as the Remedial Action Plan (RAP) process to address identified environmental concerns.

“Achieving progress in the identified environmental problem areas requires the work of many, and doesn’t happen quickly. We’re eager to update the community on our most recent progress,” said Dr. Jeremy Cushman, Interim Public Health Commissioner.


“Thanks to federal, state and local collaboration and resources, the Rochester Embayment is an important waterway on the road to recovery. Input from the public and our partnering stakeholders has been a critical component of these efforts and DEC encourages the public’s continued participation in the restoration of this incredible resource,” said NYS DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos.


The Rochester Embayment AOC is an area formed by the indentation of the Monroe County shoreline between Bogus Point in the town of Parma and Nine Mile Point in the town of Webster.  The southern boundary includes approximately 6 miles of the Genesee River that is influenced by lake levels, from the river's mouth to the Lower Falls.


Rochester Embayment Release/Page 2


The RAP identified 14 impairments for the AOC.  Impairments included items such as degradation of fish and wildlife populations, restrictions on dredging, and aesthetics.  Each impairment has associated criteria that must be met in order for it to be removed from the list. Upon the completion of remedial actions for all impairments, the Rochester Embayment will be recommended for a status update from an Area of Concern to an Area in Recovery.

Health and environmental officials are also seeking input via e-mail from individuals who may not be able to make it to a meeting but want to stay informed, receive updates, and obtain documents to review.  To be placed on this list, residents should send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject “RAP” and a message containing your full name, e-mail address, and town of residence.


Media Inquiries, Contact:

John Ricci, MCDPH, 585 753-5106
Linda Vera, NYSDEC,
585 226-5324

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