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New legislation for HABs? Sen. Harckham’s bill could give municipalities a tool kit of solutions

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  • Staff Report 

New York state Senator Pete Harckham, Chairman of the state Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, is set to introduce a bill targeting Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) across various fresh water sources in the state.


Touring the state to understand the diverse water quality concerns in different regions, Harckham has acknowledged the growing frustration among communities due to the lack of a unified approach and resources to tackle issues like HABs which pose significant threats to water supplies.

In 2018, New York state had launched a HABs initiative, allocating over $65 million to address the blooms affecting water quality and recreational use of state lakes, resulting in the development of “HABs Action Plans” for 13 water bodies.


However, lawmakers like Harckham emphasized the need for more comprehensive and versatile solutions. He mentioned the prospect of legalizing Alum, currently classified as an herbicide in New York but recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency as an effective coagulant that can mitigate cyanobacteria and remove phosphorus and algae from water.

Harckham’s proposed legislation would offer municipalities a systematic toolkit to combat HABs and meet the diverse water quality challenges head-on.