FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE01-63
Contact: Geoff Ryan
Conditions Cause DEP to Call a Moratorium on Percolation and Deep Soil Tests
Commissioner Joel A. Miele, Sr., P.E. of the New York City Department of
Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that drought conditions throughout
the watersheds of the City's reservoirs have caused the agency to suspend
acceptance of percolation and deep soil tests conducted after December 13th.
The Health Departments of two watershed counties Westchester and Putnam
had instituted their own moratoria, as they had in the drought of 1995,
in advance of DEP's action.
"The eight counties of the watershed are suffering from a precipitation
deficit of more than ten inches, and the State Department of Environmental
Conservation has issued a drought warning for the area," Commissioner
Miele said. "Results of percolation and deep soil tests obtained in these
extraordinarily dry soil conditions are not reliable enough to ensure that
septic systems are installed in appropriate locations that will protect water
quality. As a sanitary engineer, I would not want to install a septic system
in an area that may be dry in a drought, but have saturated soils during years
of normal rainfall. That can only lead to improperly functioning septic systems,
causing contamination of the environment, streams and reservoirs, as well
as problems for the owner of the defective system down the road."
"We have been experiencing an unusually warm autumn, which has provided
a longer than normal season for percolation and deep hole testing this year,
and we appreciate and regret that this moratorium may inconvenience some watershed
residents. We hope and expect that precipitation during the winter months
will restore water to the soils, as well as the reservoirs, and that testing
can resume as usual after the spring thaws."