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Floatables Reduction Program

What Are Floatables?

Floatables are water-borne litter and debris. They come mainly from street litter that ends up in the City's storm drains (catch basins) and sewers. Floatables can be discharged into the surrounding waters during certain rain events when water flow into treatment plants exceeds treatment capacity.

Catch Basin Program

When it rains, litter in the street can be washed into the City's storm drains (catch basins). Catch basins are equipped with hoods, which are designed to trap debris before it enters the sewer system. Each of the City's 130,000 catch basins has been inspected and electronically mapped. DEP and its contractors periodically clean debris from catch basins.

But during heavy rainstorms, floatables can be discharged into the surrounding waters if water flow into treatment plants exceeds treatment capacity.

Booming and Skimming Operations

DEP has installed booms or floating barriers at 24 locations to capture floatables discharged from combined sewers, which handle sanitary and storm water.

DEP skimmer vessels are used to remove floatables from boomed sites. And in open waters like New York Harbor, floating debris is removed by the Skimmer Vessel Cormorant, DEP's largest vessel in the floatables fleet.

DEP Outfall Sign Installation Program

The outlet structures that connect the City's sewers connect with the surrounding waters are known as Combined Sewer Outfalls. Each one has a unique Outfall Identification Number and is marked by a green sign. There are approximately 447 Citywide.

The signs identify all New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitted wet weather discharge points (SPDES) throughout the City.

How You Can Help

  • Go to 311 Online to report problems at catch basins or outfalls.
  • Don't throw litter onto streets or into catch basins.

Reservoir Levels

Current: 71.3%

Normal: 84.1%