New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Statewide Sewage Disposal, Water Pollution, and Discharge Permit Files

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

177 cu. ft.(including ca. 4,425 maps) :some annotated, some topographic print, bulk are copies ;100 x 91 cm or smaller.
Inclusive Dates:
[ca. 1900-1975
Series Number:


Alphabetical by county and therein alphabetical by name of city, town, or village.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of waste water sewage disposal files, including records on state inspection and regulation of sewage treatment facilities and projects and efforts to control water pollution resulting from unsanitary disposal of waste by corporate and private entities.

The records span many decades during which responsibility for monitoring and regulating water pollution and waste management resided with the Department of Health. Those responsibilities shifted to the Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970; the department also took primary responsibility for state policy on water pollution and waste management.

The records were first produced by the Bureau of Water and Waste Management and by the Bureau of Municipal and Industrial Wastes, which were both part of the Health Department. Since 1970 the files were produced by the Bureau of Municipal Operations. Coverage is statewide.

The records deal with the disposal of waste materials into state waters; the operation, construction, and design of sewage treatment systems; reporting on water testing and contamination; and attempts to prevent or abate pollution of state waters.

Furthermore, the series reflects the interaction of government at state and local levels, prompted by shared responsibility for public health and the protection and development of natural resources. Public and environmental health issues overlap in the areas of sanitation and facilities development. Public health laws prohibit the pollution of the waters of the state; waters are classified and certain quality standards are set within each classification. Local boards of health make and publish orders and regulations in support of the state sanitary code, and county health committees appoint sanitary inspectors.

Some of the files cover one institution over a long period of time. For example, the file for a county hospital begins with the original discharge permits for the proposed hospital in 1932, and ends with the approval of plans and specifications relating to installation of new steam boilers in the hospital in 1967. On the other hand, many of the records are permits dealing with individual citizens' camps located on lakes or rivers. Other files are concerned with villages' plans for disposal of waste material. The series also contains records on costs, reports and correspondence between state and local officials concerned with waste removal.

The series includes: permits and completed applications for permits to discharge sewage or effluent into state waters; correspondence setting down qualifying conditions to be met before issuance of a permit or approval of plans (e.g., relocation of water supply intakes, problems with waste treatment works design); administrative and inter-agency correspondence on progress or problems with various on-going projects; responses to letters of public complaint (e.g., discharge of raw sewage onto the ground, backup of sewer waters, malodorous or unsanitary conditions on private property resulting from corporate or state sources); design reports for proposed sewage treatment plants; maps showing locations of plant sites and stream or watershed areas; specifications for sewage and waste treatment plants and acknowledgements of receipt of plans and specifications sent for review and approval; conference memoranda and summaries of meetings attended by official department representatives; reports and administrative memoranda on examination of plans for treatment and disposal systems and/or approval of amended plans; minutes or transcripts of hearings concerning violations of sewage disposal regulations; memoranda on site visits, often in response to an emergency situation (e.g., oil spill into a river, repair of a gas line at a treatment plant, possible flood situation during winter thaw);

copies of legal complaints (filed against municipal governments and others) asking for continuance, revocation, or modification of permits to discharge sewage because of violations of the public health law; case reports on water pollution abatement programs and actions initiated or enforced in an attempt to halt or prevent contamination; results of water quality test samples and stream surveys often made to determine possible pollution according to state stream classification standards; and files on various industrial water pollution control projects, often including industrial surveys and related data (e.g., sludge formation and discharge from paper mills, proper chicken waste disposal on a poultry ranch).

There are maps scattered throughout the records, most often blueprint, whiteprint, photostatic or printed copies attached as exhibits or in support of sewage disposal plans. They present a variety of types from annotated topographic quadrangle maps to hand drawn sketch maps furnished as part of a particular application process. Consequently, title, scale, legend and preparer information varies. In some cases maps are dated, marked accepted by state officials, and/or signed by applicants and consulting engineers.

The maps may show: the location of specific facility or construct (e.g., treatment tanks in a disposal plant) or the location or distance of such a facility from the nearest body of ground water (sometimes with flow direction); existing or proposed sewer lines, sewage treatment systems, sewage disposal works or storm water drainage sewers within localities; sources and courses of water within a particular locality or topographic region, sometimes with the classification of the waters according to the state system; the location of proposed connections to county trunk sewers or larger existing sewer lines; locations of structures and/or obstructions (e.g., bridge crossing) in relation to sewer locations and the possible disturbance to existing streets or other avenues by proposed work; and location of specific site/condition in an investigative report (e.g., the wells in a complaint on salt waste in wells).

In addition to maps, the series also contains occasional photographs (sometimes annotated), general plans, cross sections, sectional diagrams, and sketches of sewer related structures (e.g., gates, manholes).

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

There are no restrictions regarding access to or use of the material.

Related Information

Other finding aids

Container list by county.

Access Terms

Corporate Name(s):
Geographic Name(s):

Detailed Description

Contents Box

Accretion: A1117-80
Albany County 1
Albany County 2
Albany County 3
Albany County 4
Allegany County 5
Allegany and Broome Counties 6
Broome County 7
Broome County 8
Broome County 9
Cattaraugus County 10
Cattaraugus County 11
Cattaraugus County 12
Cattaraugus County 13
Cayuga County 14
Cayuga County 15
Cayuga County 16
Cayuga County 17
Chautauqua County 18
Chautauqua County 19
Chautauqua County 20
Chautauqua County 21
Chemung County 22
Chemung County 23
Chemung and Chenango Counties 24
Chenango County 25
Clinton County 26
Clinton and Columbia Counties 27
Columbia County 28
Cortland 29
Delaware County 30
Delaware County 31
Dutchess County 32
Dutchess County 33
Dutchess County 34
Dutchess County 35
Erie County 36
Erie County 37
Erie County 38
Erie County 39
Erie County 40
Erie County 41
Erie County 42
Erie County 43
Erie County 44
Erie County 45
Erie County 46
Erie County 47
Erie County 48
Essex County 49
Essex County 50
Franklin and Fulton Counties 51
Fulton County 52
Genesee County 53
Genesee, Greene, and Hamilton Counties 54
Herkimer County 55
Herkimer and Jefferson Counties 56
Jefferson County 57
Jefferson and Livingston Counties 58
Livingston County 59
Livingston County 60
Livingston County 61
Livingston County 62
Madison County 63
Monroe County 64
Monroe County 65
Monroe County 66
Monroe County 67
Monroe County 68
Monroe County 69
Monroe County 70
Monroe County 71
Montgomery County 72
Nassau County 73
Nassau County 74
Nassau County 75
Nassau County 76
Nassau County 77
Nassau County 78
Nassau County 79
Nassau County 80
Nassau County 81
New York City 82
New York City 83
New York City 84
New York City 85
Niagara County 86
Niagara County 87
Niagara County 88
Niagara County 89
Niagara County 90
Oneida County 91
Oneida County 92
Oneida County 93
Oneida County 94
Onondaga County 95
Onondaga County 96
Onondaga County 97
Onondaga County 98
Onondaga County 99
Onondaga County 100
Onondaga County 101
Onondaga County 102
Onondaga County 103
Onondaga County 104
Ontario County 105
Ontario County 106
Ontario County 107
Orange County 108
Orange County 109
Orange County 110
Orange County 111
Orange County 112
Orleans County 113
Oswego County 114
Oswego County 115
Otsego and Rensselaer Counties 116
Rensselaer County 117
Rockland County 118
Rockland County 119
Rockland County 120
Rockland County 121
Rockland County 122
St. Lawrence County 123
St. Lawrence County 124
St. Lawrence and Saratoga Counties 125
Saratoga County 126
Saratoga and Schenectady Counties 127
Schenectady County 128
Schenectady, Schoharie, Schuyler, and Seneca Counties 129
Seneca County 130
Putnam County 131
Steuben County 132
Steuben County 133
Steuben County 134
Suffolk County 135
Suffolk County 136
Suffolk County 137
Suffolk County 138
Suffolk County 139
Suffolk County 140
Suffolk County 141
Suffolk County 142
Sullivan County 143
Sullivan County 144
Sullivan County 145
Sullivan County 146
Sullivan County 147
Tioga County 148
Tompkins County 149
Tompkins County 150
Ulster County 151
Ulster County 152
Ulster County 153
Washington County 154
Wayne County 155
Wayne County 156
Wayne County 157
Washington County 158
Westchester County 159
Westchester County 160
Westchester County 161
Westchester County 162
Westchester County 163
Westchester County 164
Westchester County 165
Westchester County 166
Westchester County 167
Westchester County 168
Westchester County 169
Westchester County 170
Westchester County 171
Westchester (Mamaroneck Project) 172
Westchester (Mamaroneck Project) 173
Wyoming County 174
Yates County 175
Orange County (Montgomery - Port Jervis) 176
Montgomery County (Amsterdam - Canajoharie) 177