State and federal institution wastewater disposal 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

The series consists of memoranda, reports, plans, and correspondence relating to the inspection, construction, and upgrading of sewage treatment plants and the establishment and monitoring of waste water pollution controls for various state and federal institutions.
5 cu. ft.(including ca. 56 maps) :whiteprint, topographic print, some annotated ;28 x 22 cm or larger.
Inclusive Dates:
[ca. 1900-1975
Bulk Dates:
(bulk 1940-1970)
Series Number:


Roughly alphabetical by name of city, village or town.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of memoranda, reports, plans, and correspondence relating to the inspection, construction, and upgrading of sewage treatment plants and the establishment and monitoring of waste water pollution controls for various state and federal institutions.

Many projects were authorized through capital improvement budget appropriations allowing for the construction, alteration, and improvement of existing state facilities or for the preparation of designs, specifications, plans, and estimates for the construction of additional facilities. Sewage treatment was a necessary component for all such facilities. Earlier documents within this series include permits to discharge sewage or effluent into state waters.

The records span many decades during which responsibility for water pollution and waste management resided with the Department of Health. That responsibility shifted to the Department of Environmental Conservation in 1970 when the department also took primary responsibility for state policy on water pollution and waste management. The records were produced by a variety of bureaus within these two primary departments. As of January 11, 1971, the Department of Environmental Conservation's Sewage Works Section in the Bureau of Engineering Design was given responsibility for the coordination of water pollution control activities of state institutions. This included project analysis, annual inspection reports, and requests for assistance and upgrading efforts, or for correction of deficiencies. That responsibility had been previously shared by the Bureau's Sewage Facility Section and the Department of Health's Bureau of Hospital and Institutional Engineering. Generally since 1970, the Department of Environmental Conservation's Division of Pure Waters has monitored sewage disposal by federal and state institutions.

The records deal with the disposal of waste materials into state waters, the operation, construction, and design of sewage treatment systems, and reporting on water use and sewage flow in state owned and operated facilities. Each institution or locality has the records pertinent to its sewage disposal filed in one or more folders. There are records for the following types of institutions: colleges and universities, and schools and vocational institutes; hospitals and mental health facilities; prisons, reformatories, and youth detention facilities; Indian reservations; parkway, airport, and canal maintenance buildings and garages; National Guard camps and armories; youth forestry camps; and the New York State Fair and the New York State Game Farm.

The file(s) for each institution may include all or some of the following: applications for approval of plans and for permits to discharge sewage or effluent into state waters; plans and evaluations of sewage treatment plants and/or their improvement; specifications of labor and materials required for proposed sanitary facilities; transmittal correspondence regarding preliminary plans, outline specifications, and design data sent for review and comment (usually to the Department of Health); suggestions on employing various filtering processes (e.g., earth filter or sand filter) and waste stabilization techniques (e.g., pond or outfall sewer); preliminary engineering reports; plot plans, maps, specifications, drawings, engineering plans, and some photographs relating to construction and/or rehabilitation of sewage systems and sewage treatment plants; water consumption and sewage flow reports; and correspondence giving recommendations or advisement on training of operators of sewage treatment works (according to the classification under provisions of the state sanitary code).

The non-textual materials scattered throughout the series are most often sets of plans. There are also occasional printed topographic maps annotated to show locations of treatment plants or project sites. The plans are usually whiteprint copies. They sometimes have a standard information block that includes project number, specification number, drawing number, and the initials of the person by whom they were drawn, traced, checked, and approved. They are sometimes dated and sometimes carry one or more office stamps (on the verso) of the date received in various bureau, district, or sub-district offices. Some are marked as preliminary or revised.

Examples of plans found in the series include: plot plans for sewage systems, sewers, and/or water lines, often containing design requirements (e.g., for aeration tank volume, motor and blower capacity), general construction notes (e.g., on insulation, construction material specifications), or detail drawings on a typical installation; plot and grading plans for comfort stations and other facilities, often containing supplemental drawings (e.g., chlorine contact chamber), details (e.g., of manholes,pipe cradles), sectional drawings (e.g., on typical leaching basins, catch basins), elevations, and informational tables (e.g., door and window schedules and interior finishes); construction, heating, sanitary, and electric plans, elevations and details, sometimes including floor plans; and sets of general engineering plans of sewage treatment plants, often including roof plan, elevations, plot plans, sectional profile, and various details (e.g., of sludge pumping and disposal, pumping stations, trickling filters and secondary clarifiers, etc.).

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

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

Related Information

Other finding aids

An alphabetical location index found at the start of the series gives the county and institution name.

Access Terms

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