FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE05-27
Welcomes Fleet With Cleanest Harbor Yet
Increased Shoreline Surveillance * Free Pump-Out Stations for
Boat Waste Enhanced
Beach Protection Program in Place for Summer
Commissioner Emily Lloyd of the New York City Department of Environmental
Protection (DEP), in conjunction with Fleet Week 2005, welcomed
the fleet to the City today, where it will enjoy the cleanest harbor
waters since monitoring began almost 100 years ago.
Commissioner Lloyd also announced that the DEP has begun its
Enhanced Beach Protection Program for the summer. Under the Program,
DEP’s Marine Sciences unit increases its monitoring of the
harbor for various water quality indicators such as fecal coliform
and dissolved oxygen levels. DEP also increases surveillance of
the City’s shorelines for illegal dumping from the City’s
thousands of sewage outfalls.
Preventive maintenance of sewage pumping stations and regulators
is increased, as are efforts to monitor the impact of the sewage
overflows that occur throughout the City after rainstorms. The
Program will run to September 30, the traditional end of the region’s
beach and boating season.
“Thanks to the City’s investment in sewage treatment
plants and its stronger enforcement of environmental regulations,
pollution levels in New York Harbor have decreased by 98 percent
over the last 25 years,” said Commissioner Lloyd. “That
has enabled us to take greater advantage of the Harbor and to open
more beaches to the public for swimming.
“The Enhanced Beach Protection Program adds an extra level
of protection during the hottest summer months, when the most people
will be on or in the water. In the past, the Program has been successful
in minimizing beach closures and reducing the amount of sewage
that flows into the Harbor untreated,” continued Lloyd.
As an added feature to help protect harbor water quality, the
DEP also operates free pump-out stations where boat owners can
legally dispose of their onboard septic waste, rather than releasing
it into the harbor. This year the DEP has seven pump-out stations
throughout the five boroughs, with most open to the public by Memorial
Day or shortly after. An additional pump-out station will be built
at the DEP’s Rockaway Water Pollution Control Plant by mid-summer.
Another two stations are available that are not funded by the DEP.
As part of the Program, 65 strategic points in the City’s
sewer system have had remote monitoring equipment installed to
alert the DEP to raw sewage discharges, including 25 pumping stations
and 40 sewer regulators located near beaches. The systems are monitored
around-the-clock and crews can be dispatched to respond to any
Boat owners wishing to use the DEP’s free pump-out facilities
must dock at a floating pier, open a valve on a remote control
pumping stand, and use a flexible hose to drain the boat’s
waste tank. Waste is suctioned through the hose from the remote
station to tanks, and from there flows to one of the City’s
14 sewage treatment plants. The convenience and cost effectiveness
of these modern pumping stations reduces the dumping of sewage
by marine vessels and provides a valuable service to the area’s
DEP’s seven free pump-out stations are located throughout
the five boroughs at: Dyckman Marina (Hudson River, Manhattan),
World’s Fair Marina (Flushing Bay, Queens), Bayside Marina
(Little Neck Bay, Queens), Locust Point Marina (Throgs Neck, Bronx),
Hudson River Yacht Club (Paerdegat Basin, Brooklyn), Coney Island
Water Pollution Control Plant (Shellbank Creek, Brooklyn), and
Lemon Creek Mariner’s Association (Princess Bay, Staten Island).
In addition, City of New York/Parks & Recreation
operates a free pump-out station at the 79 th Street Marina in
Manhattan. The National Parks Service also has one at Great Kills
Marina in Staten Island.
For the last 94 years, the City has issued an annual Harbor Water
Quality Report. The 2003 Report (issued in summer 2004) notes that
fecal coliform levels – an indicator of the presence of raw
or partially treated sewage and one of the most important water
quality indicators – dropped by over 98 percent in the Inner
Harbor and Upper East River since the early 1970s. The trend coincides
with upgrades to the four sewage treatment plants that serve those
areas: Bowery Bay, Tallman Island, Hunts Point and Wards Island.
Other reasons for improvements include better monitoring and control
of industrial discharges and the abatement of illegal dumping into
the sewer system.
Another pollution control program listed in the 2003 Report restricts
the discharge of certain types of industrial waste into the sewer
system. Over the last 14 years, heavy metals in wastewater has
dropped from 7,800 lbs. to 2,400 lbs. per day citywide. Heavy industry
now accounts for less than one percent of the metals in untreated
In 1998, the DEP initiated a program to eliminate the discharge
of untreated sewage into the Harbor during dry weather. This program
involved a detailed evaluation of the City’s entire 575 miles
of shoreline and over 3,000 sewer outfalls. The initial survey
found that there was 3.7 million gallons a day of untreated sewage
being dumped into the Harbor daily. To date, the DEP has eliminated
96 percent of these discharges.
Since 1997, at the beginning of the Enhanced Beach Protection
Program, 93 sewage pumping stations throughout the City have had
computerized monitoring equipment installed. As a result, the total
amount of untreated sewage bypassed from pump stations and regulators
during the 2003 season was just 0.0002 percent of total dry weather
flow, a 97 percent decrease from 1997.
For more information on harbor water quality, sewage treatment
and the efforts of the DEP to monitor water quality throughout
the Harbor, see the DEP’s Web site at nyc.gov/dep.