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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE10-85

September 1, 2010

CONTACT:

Farrell Sklerov (718) 595-6600

DEP Issues Fiscal Year 2010 State of the Department

Water Quality Complaints and Water Main Breaks At Lowest Levels in More Than a Decade


DEP today issued its first-ever State of the Department for Fiscal Year 2010. The State of the Department gives an overview of DEP’s performance during the past fiscal year by reporting key performance metrics for DEP’s core functions. Though year-to-year comparisons are subject to changes in weather or other external factors, these metrics offer critical insight into the effectiveness of DEP programs and initiatives, and will be used as benchmarks to establish performance goals for Fiscal Year 2011 and beyond. In FY2010, DEP improved operations in a number of key areas, including water quality protection, water distribution, wastewater collection, quality of life, and environmental health and safety.

“Transparency is the foundation of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts to improve the delivery of government services and make City agencies accountable to the 8.4 million customers we serve,” said Commissioner Holloway. “DEP is responsible for delivering critical City services every day, and we can improve only if we monitor and report our performance. With that in mind, the results of our first-ever State of the Department are encouraging. Despite an 8% budget cut, we are performing many core functions better than ever. Water quality complaints are as low as they have been in more than a decade, water main breaks are down dramatically, and job-related injuries and illnesses have fallen. And in the areas where we have seen some slippage from last year, we know where to focus resources to improve this year. Overall, this has been a successful year for DEP, made possible by the tremendous daily efforts of the nearly 6,000 hard-working DEP employees based here and in the City and throughout our 2,000 square-mile watershed.”

The statistics included in the 2010 State of the Department are a combination of information generated by the 311 Call Center and for the Mayor’s Management Report, and internal metrics tracked by DEP. The New York City 2010 Fiscal Year began on July 1, 2009 and ended on June 30, 2010.

Water Quality

More than one billion gallons of drinking water is distributed to nine million New Yorkers each day from reservoirs as far away as 125 miles. The quality of that water continues to be among the best in the nation, in large part due to the City’s comprehensive watershed protection program that makes New York City one of only five large cities in the country to receive the majority of its drinking water from unfiltered sources. DEP also conducts more than 500,000 water quality tests each year in-City and upstate.

Water Quality Highlight: DEP purchased an additional 10,913 acres of land in the watershed to further protect this natural resource—the second highest total since the Land Acquisition Program began in 1997.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Average In-City Water Consumption*

1,039

1,017

-2.1%

Acres Acquired in Watershed

10,693

10,913

2.1%

Water Quality Complaints

1,624

1,156

-28.8%

*Reported in millions of gallons per day

Water and Wastewater Distribution

DEP distributes drinking water and collects wastewater through a vast underground network of pipes, regulators, and pumping stations. In total, the system consists of approximately 6,600 miles of water mains and 7,400 miles of sewer mains. Over the next five years, DEP has committed more than $2billion to improve and expand this distribution and collection network in all five boroughs.

Distribution Network Highlight: Water main breaks are down nearly 30%—the fewest in at least a decade.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Catch Basin Complaints

12,943

11,330

-12.5%

Catch Basin Resolution Time*

7.0

8.4

20.0%

Catch Basins Cleaned**

47,098

27,296

-42%

Sewer Backup Complaints

16,977

14,883

-12.3%

Sewer Backup Resolution Time***

5.6

5.8

3.6%

Street Cave In Complaints

9,545

6,302

-34%

Average Response Time to Street Cave Ins*

10.4

8.3

-20.2%

Water Main Breaks

513

360

-30%

Average Time Restoring Service After Break Confirmed***

9.1

5.5

-39.6%

Average Times to Replace High Priority Broken or Inoperative Hydrants*

15.2

7.5

-50.7%

Length of Water Mains Inspected for Leaks****

4058

4028

-0.7%

*Reported in days
**Catch basins are inspected on a three-year cycle, and DEP inspected more than 48,000 catch basins in FY2010. However, in part due to aggressive cleaning over the past few years, it was determined that a significant percentage did not need cleaning.
***Reported in hours
****Reported in miles

Wastewater Treatment

DEP treats 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater that New Yorkers produce each day at its 14 wastewater treatment plants to minimize any negative environmental impact on New York City’s surrounding waterways. Harbor water quality is at an all-time high since testing began 100 years ago, in part due to an unprecedented $5 billion committed to upgrade the City’s treatment plants, and nearly $1 billion committed to reduce combined sewer overflows since 2002. This investment has allowed each of DEP’s wastewater treatment plants to meet the Federal Clean Water Act’s monthly secondary treatment standards for the first time ever in 2010—three years ahead of schedule.

Wastewater Treatment Highlight: Nitrogen discharges into New York City’s surrounding waterways have been cut by nearly 8%.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Total Suspended Solid Removal (Citywide)

90%

89%

-1%

Effluent Complying with Standards

99.9%

99.9%

0.0%

Gallons of Wastewater Treated*

1283.6

1291.9

0.6%

Nitrogen Discharged Into East River and Jamaica Bay**

163,017

150,092

-7.9%

*Reported in millions of gallons per day
**Reported in pounds per day

Environment & Quality of Life

DEP promotes the public health, economic development and quality of life of New York City by developing sustainable environmental policy and enforcing regulations designed to reduce air and noise pollution and to control asbestos removal. On behalf of the City, DEP administers New York City’s air pollution control code, which is in the early phase of a major overhaul to update existing provisions and to look at new strategies to improve the city’s air quality.  DEP also enforces the noise code, which was comprehensively revised for the first time in 30 years in 2005 to more effectively address one of the most common quality-of-life complaints. The asbestos abatement industry is also regulated by DEP, which establishes training, certification and work procedures for contractors conducting asbestos inspections and abatement.

Quality of Life Highlight: Noise complaints are down nearly 20%.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Air Complaints Received

11,692

9,699

-17%

Air Inspections Conducted

9,550

8,492

-11.1%

Time to Close Air Complaints*

13.05

10.84

-16.9%

Noise Complaints Received

39,371

31,778

-19.3%

Noise Inspections Conducted

21,343

19,932

-6.6%

Time to Close Noise Complaints*

17.68

15.25

-13.7%

Asbestos Complaints Received

1,391

1,180

-15.2%

Asbestos Inspections Conducted

4,395

5,280

20.1%

Time to Close Asbestos Complaints*

0.23

0.27

17.4%

Total Violations Issued (air/noise/asbestos)

7,412

9,466

27.7%

*Reported in days

Customer Service

DEP has made great strides in enhancing customer service and in communicating more effectively with its customers since 2006, when a comprehensive customer service improvement program began. Since then, DEP has expanded call center hours for customer convenience, dramatically reduced call wait time, improved the response rate for written customer inquiries, added an online bill pay option, and offered a 2% discount to customers who pay their bill online using direct debit. DEP also opened the Office of the Ombudsman, a unit responsible for providing special assistance to all water and sewer account holders undergoing the lien sale process. DEP recently launched Automated Meter Reading Online, a web tool that displays real-time water use information so that customers can manage their properties, conserve water, and detect leaks. This year, DEP also launched the Water Debt Assistant Program, an initiative to help homeowners at risk of mortgage foreclosure from being placed on the lien-sale list or having their water service terminated due to past-due water and sewer debt.

Customer Service Highlight: More than 334,000 wireless water meters were installed.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Total Calls to DEP’s Call Center

522,605

587,672

12.5%

Average Wait Time*

30

60

100%

Automated Meter Reading Units Installed

38,697

334,227

764%

*Reported in seconds

Construction

DEP is in the midst of an unprecedented capital construction program, generating roughly 5,000 jobs for the next three years. Under Mayor Bloomberg, a total of more than $21 billion has been committed to DEP capital projects, including $2.5 billion for City Water Tunnel No. 3 – more funding for the tunnel than the previous five Administrations combined. Among the projects awarded this year, $140 million went to upgrade the Gowanus Canal Flushing Tunnel and Pumping Station, which will reduce combined sewer overflows and increase the oxygen levels in the canal.

Construction Highlight: Despite the economic slowdown, DEP still continues to bid more than $1 billion in construction work.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

Contracts Awarded

45

48

6.7%

Total Contract Value*

$1.29

$1.13

-12%

*Reported in billions of dollars

Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Since 2002, DEP has undertaken significant measures designed to communicate EHS initiatives and encourage their incorporation into daily work habits of all employees as well as to give employees the opportunity to have their EHS concerns addressed. As part of this process, DEP developed a comprehensive program of environmental, health and safety (EHS) compliance in which policies in more than 60 subject matter areas were codified; nearly 6,000 employees were trained in approximately 400 individual courses to implement those programs in the field; a permanent internal compliance office and a toll-free hotline for employees to report concerns and complaints were established; and facilities corrected thousands of compliance action items identified in EHS audits.

EHS Highlight: With trainings going up, workplace injuries have plummeted 17%.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

% Change

 Workplace Injuries/Illnesses

418

347

-17%

Construction Injuries/Illnesses

134

109

-18.7%

EHS Classes Conducted

1,371

1,435

4.7%

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600