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Stories from DEP

Stories from DEP is a collection of feature articles published in the Agency's internal newsletter, Weekly Pipeline. The newsletter includes updates on current news, agency accomplishments, and personal milestones. Below is a selection of feature articles.

  • Design of Rondout-West Branch Tunnel Shaft Sites 'Draws' on In-House Expertise As the centerpiece of the Water for the Future program, repair of the Rondout-West Branch Tunnel of the Delaware Aqueduct represents a critical infrastructure investment for New York City.

  • Queens Adds Notch to ‘Blue-Belt’ DEP’s award-winning Bluebelts are expanding in Queens. Through preservation of natural drainage corridors, such as streams, ponds, lakes, and other wetlands, the installation of stormwater management landscaping treatments, and construction of man-made wetlands, Bluebelts not only help prevent flooding, they also clean and filter stormwater. Bluebelts also provide important community open spaces and diverse wildlife habitats.

  • Holy Moses! How Great Lawn Went From H2O to RBI For New Yorkers, one of the most popular destinations for baseball and softball is the Great Lawn in Central Park. But few park visitors know that the Great Lawn was originally the site of a vast 150 million gallon reservoir that received and stored drinking water for the growing and increasingly thirsty city.

  • Reel Good News for A-fish-ionados As DEP expands the recreational boating program, recreational opportunities continue to grow for New Yorkers to enjoy the scenic New York City watershed.

  • Picture This: Capturing DEP History in Photographs “In the conduct of so large an engineering undertaking, thousands of photographs for information and record will be required.” (Annual Report of the Board of Water Supply, 1906).

  • Good Foresting Is at ‘Root’ of Clean Water New York City owns approximately 120,000 acres of land throughout its 2,000-square mile watershed. Of this total, 65,000 acres were acquired for watershed protection as part of several Filtration Avoidance Determinations (FAD). Approximately 95,000 acres of this land are forested.

  • Building a Better Water Supply System Is No Pipe Dream While the phrase Water for the Future may evoke science fiction, it actually describes a DEP project that will secure the reliability of New York City’s drinking water supply through repairing some of its most critical infrastructure, while also seeking innovative methods of preventing service interruptions from occurring as an unintended — and unacceptable — side effect.

  • Air We Go! BEC Lab Keeps Tab New Yorkers burn more than one billion gallons of heating oil every year, which adds more soot pollution to the air than all the cars and trucks in the city combined.

  • City Siphoned All its Engineering Talent to Get Water to Staten Island When Board of Water Supply engineers began planning how to bring Catskill water into Staten Island for the first time in 1913, they found themselves faced with a unique challenge — how would the water be carried across the Narrows—the entry to New York Harbor—into Staten Island?

  • Boring Has Never Been So Exciting Boring — it helped make New York’s water supply infrastructure an engineering marvel, which in turn ensured the Big Apple’s prominence as a world city.

  • New Code Will Air on the Side of Public Health The last time the New York City Air Pollution Control Code (Air Code) was comprehensively updated, President Gerald Ford was in office; the Cincinnati Reds were World Series champions; “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won the Academy Award for Best Picture.

  • At DEP, Watershed Vigilance Is No Passing FAD Since DEP signed an historic Memorandum of Agreement with the state and federal government, watershed communities and environmental groups in 1997, New York has been one of only five large cities issued a Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) by the EPA.

  • In World War II, BWS Police Ensured All Was Quiet on the Watershed Front With the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, the United States was thrust into a world war. Life in every part of the country changed overnight with New York City being no exception. For its part, the Board of Water Supply (BWS) organized a seminar in February 1942 at which it presented a report entitled “Wartime Protection of Water Supply Systems” to the engineers of its sister agency the Department of Water Supply, Gas and Electricity—the department responsible for operating the upstate and in city water systems.

  • At ECC, Communication Is Their Middle Name ECC handles a broad range of calls about numerous events including street flooding and leaks, water main breaks, street cave-ins, accidents, fires, chemical releases or spills, and steam pipe explosions.

  • Stream Team Keeps Things Flowing DEP helps keep streams healthy and functioning by working side-by-side with communities and with local watershed partners such as county Soil and Water Conservation Districts and Cornell Cooperative Extension to provide technical assistance to landowners who need help managing streams and floodplains on their property and for their cleanup after events such as Hurricane Irene.

  • Where 'Wood' We Be Without These Pipes? Starting in mid-November and for the next several months, anyone going between Lefrak's high-rise and low-rise buildings will be treated to a fascinating display of New York City history on the third floor: an exhibit of two wood pipes excavated from a lower Manhattan street.

  • An Enduring Legacy: The New Deal's 'Water Waste Force' Unemployment was at an all-time high of 25% and families were struggling to meet basic needs like food and shelter; banks and businesses were failing and homelessness was not uncommon. This was the state the country was in when Franklin Delano Roosevelt began his first term as president in 1933 at the height of the Great Depression.

  • DEP Goes Off the Grid to Help Keep Lights On This past July, New York City experienced a string of record temperatures: eleven 90° plus days, the hottest stretch occurring on July 22-23, with temperatures topping 100° for two straight days. These are the times when most of us crank up the air conditioning and keep the fans on high, but for operators at DEP’s wastewater treament plants, this heat wave was a time to reconfigure sources for powering equipment.

  • We’re All Ears: Noise Code Listening Tour To Ensure City Stays Safe and ‘Sound’ When Mayor Bloomberg announced the first overhaul of New York City’s Noise Code in 2004, it kick-started a landmark process that had been languishing for 30 years…

  • DEP’s Tunnel Vision: Safe, Safe, Safe DEP water supply tunnels are the main arteries that keep New York City running. But as every sandhog knows, tunneling is dangerous work and tunneling in the past without 21st century tools or technology could be even more perilous…

  • K-9 Unit Gives Criminals Reason to ‘Paws’ The K-9 unit within the Bureau of Police and Security was created in 2003 as an important part of enhancing the bureau’s core mission—preserving the safety and purity of New York City’s watershed…

  • 9/11 - A Look Back at DEP’s Response As the city reflects on the tenth anniversary of the September 11 attacks, we especially honor the work of our first responders on that tragic day…

  • Water Board: Keeping Watch Over City’s ‘Lifeblood’ Managing the New York City water supply is a major responsibility undertaken by DEP and its nearly 6,000 employees…

  • Lost in Yonkers? Head South from Hillview Situated in Yonkers, the Hillview Reservoir is an imposing presence for drivers on the New York State Thruway…

  • We Strongly 'Suggest' You Read This Article The recently launched NYC Simplicity Idea Market aims to improve city government by creatively utilizing its most valuable resource — its employees…

  • Finding the Way to Make the Bay a Good Place to Stay
    For thousands of years, Jamaica Bay and its watershed have served as an important ecological resource for flora and fauna, including 91 species of fish, 325 bird species (of which 62 are confirmed to breed locally) and many species of reptiles, amphibians and mammals…

  • STWs: Safeguarding The Waterways
    The workers at New York City’s 14 wastewater treatment plants and two collection facilities have an inside look at the rhythms and patterns of urban life, including the famous diurnal pattern that shows how water use spikes as we get up in the morning and again when we return home from work and school in the evening…

  • The Invention of the Sunflower That Thrives Without Sunlight
    By the time Alfred Craven became a division engineer on the New Croton Aqueduct in 1884 he had already had a rich background in engineering, first as an engineer for the California State Geological Survey in 1871 and then as a tunnel engineer in the Comstock Lode silver mines of Nevada, where prospectors were looking to get rich quick…

  • Hoosier Guess for Which City is Pioneering CSO Monitoring?
    Reaching out to other municipalities is a cornerstone of strategic plan initiative #2 to allow the agency to innovate and implement best practices by learning from others. One area we hope to gain more knowledge is in managing CSOs — a problem that is not unique to New York City…

  • They're G-r-r-r-r-ate! Catch Basin Crews Storm City's Drains
    For most New Yorkers, it’s just another feature of the urban landscape — barely acknowledged until a ring or an iPhone is dropped down the ominous metal grate. While catch basins may not be the most glamorous piece of infrastructure, they perform a critical role in ensuring the health, safety, and economic vitality of New York City…

  • An Annual Spring Challenge: Water We To Do About All This Rain?
    From the reservoirs to the Catskill and Delaware watersheds to New York Harbor and beyond, rain and snowmelt affect the quality and quantity of New York City's drinking and receiving waters…

  • One Size Does Not Fit All: Rethinking the Consent Order Calculus
    You may have heard the terms "consent order," "consent decree," or "consent judgment," but what do they mean and how do they impact DEP?

  • Air-ing on the Side of Caution for Health
    The New York City Air Pollution Control Code, or Air Code, entitles all New Yorkers to clean, healthy air. It's the job of the Air Engineering Office, led by Ray Hodge, to make sure that happens…

  • Backflow Prevention: Connection and Inspection are the Right Direction for Drinking Water Protection
    Backflow prevention devices, also known as cross connection controls, function by containing potential contamination within the premises of the user. For example, car washes with strong recirculation pumps could inadvertently force contaminated water back into the distribution system if they did not have the proper backflow prevention devices on their water services…

  • Cease the Grease: DEP’s FOG Program Helps Keep NYC Sewers Running
    With more than 22,000 food service establishments serving more than eight million New Yorkers, plus all the tourists and commuters that come into the city every day, sometimes things get flushed into the sewers that shouldn't…

  • Think These Upgrades Are Important? "Dam" Right They Are!
    Our upstate dams literally form the backbone of our drinking water supply system — impounding rivers and lakes, allowing water to collect in our reservoirs, which eventually ends up in the distribution system…

  • They Put the "Best" in Asbestos Control
    Part of DEP’s myriad responsibilities includes making sure that the city maintains healthy air quality levels for its residents. One critical component of this responsibility is the careful regulation of asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used for insulation, construction, and fireproofing throughout much of the 20th century…

  • Digesting the Wastewater Treatment Process
    At DEP we are proud of our ability to provide nine million New Yorkers with one billion gallons of water a day and our ability to treat even more than that — an average of 1.3 billion gallons a day of wastewater from domestic and industrial use and storm runoff…

  • Watt DEP Is Doing to Amp Up NYC’s Power
    Last month, DEP became the lead agency and the Mayor’s principal advisor on the city’s energy policy and planning efforts, including making investments in private energy infrastructure and working with energy regulators on issues affecting ratepayers…

  • The ABCs of Getting NYC More Zzzzs
    In the city that never sleeps, DEP's Air and Noise Unit works nearly around the clock to achieve a balance between a vibrant and quiet city for Big Apple residents…

  • Forecast Calls for Better Water Quality Projections
    Heavy rain and snow affect our water supply by suddenly changing the quantity and quality of the water in New York City’s upstate reservoirs…

  • Survey Says: Harbor is Cleaner Than Ever
    In 1609, a ship belonging to the East India Company sailed into what is known today as New York Harbor…

  • Sleuth Crews Use Clues to Seek Leaks
    Using sound as its principal weapon, DEP’s Leak Detection Unit systematically searches for leaks throughout New York City’s water distribution system…

  • It's a High-Pressure Job but 200 Years Later City Hydrants Still Keeping City Safe
    New York City’s 109,000 fire hydrants have recently gotten a lot of attention due to this summer’s scorching heat…

  • Green Infrastructure – What a "Swale" Idea!
    DEP’s traditional grey infrastructure achieves the impossible every day…

  • These Bluebelts Are So Green
    Managing stormwater is an enormous challenge…

  • Quality Control
    The Bureau of Water Supply's Division of Distribution Water Quality Operations (DWQO) is on the front line of ensuring and maintaining the City's water quality…

  • Remembering Lieutenant John J. Quinlan
    Lieutenant Quinlan is the first DEP Police officer to be honored for making the ultimate sacrifice for New York City…

  • Natural Gas Drilling in the Watershed
    New York City's upstate watershed is simply staggering…

  • It’s Official – the Legend Lives…
    One of New York City’s most popular urban myths – that alligators live in New York City’s sewers – celebrated a milestone last week…

  • BWSO: A Bureau For All Seasons
    No matter the season, DEP's Bureau of Water and Sewer Operations (BWSO) is a 24-hour operation…

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