ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Health announced the launch of the Drinking Water Source Protection Program. The initiative will offer free technical assistance toward protecting public water sources to participating municipalities.

The program will assist communities by developing and initiating unique drinking water source protection plans at no cost to the city or town. Efforts toward conserving clean water will help municipalities enhance environmental protection and recreational opportunities in their area, while supporting economic viability and promoting public health and safety.

“The Drinking Water Source Protection Program empowers communities across New York to assess and protect sources of public drinking water, benefiting both public health and the environment,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “DEC is committed to improving water quality and access to clean water for all New Yorkers by working with local communities to protect, manage, and conserve the State’s groundwater and surface water supply sources for future generations.”

“We encourage all of New York’s public drinking water suppliers – large and small – to participate in the Drinking Water Source Protection Program for assistance in ensuring that one of their community’s most vital life resources is protected now and in the future,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald. “Developing a drinking water source protection plan includes careful consideration of many complicated factors, which is why it is critically important that municipalities have the necessary technical support to safeguard the health of their residents.”

Community public water suppliers can apply for the Drinking Water Source Protection Program by visiting the DEC website. The deadline to apply is November 14 at 4 p.m.