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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE11-87

September 9, 2011

CONTACT:

Farrell Sklerov  (718) 595-6600

DEP Issues Fiscal Year 2011 State of the Department

Time to Repair Broken High Priority Hydrants At A Record Low of Less Than Six Days, Down From 15.2 Days in FY2008

Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today issued the second annual State of the Department for Fiscal Year 2011. 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 2012 and beyond. In FY2011, 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.

"Our second annual State of the Department shows that DEP continues to perform our core functions at a high level," said Commissioner Strickland. "This data, a compilation of information from the Mayor’s Management Report and internal DEP information, gives our customers the ability to compare our response times and internal metrics so that they can be assured that DEP is operating efficiently and effectively. One important data point that we track, time to repair broken high priority hydrants, has improved remarkably—down to less than six days from 15.2 days in Fiscal Year 2008. By publishing this information, we aim to be even more accountable so that we can provide the best possible customer service to the more than eight million New Yorkers and commuters and tourists that are in New York City every day."

The statistics included in the 2011 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 2011 Fiscal Year began on July 1, 2010 and ended on June 30, 2011.

Water Quality

Each day, more than one billion gallons of drinking water is distributed to more than nine million customers in New York City and upstate 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. To ensure the quality of our drinking water, DEP also conducts more than 500,000 water quality tests each year in-city and upstate.

Water Quality Highlight: DEP continues to protect water quality by acquiring land at a rapid pace, increasing the city’s land holdings from roughly 86,000 acres in 2002 to more than 164,000 acres today.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change*

Average In-City Water Consumption**

1,039

1,017

1,035

1.8%

Acres Acquired in Watershed

10,694

10,866

9,405

-13.4%

Water Quality Complaints

1,624

1,156

975

-15.7%

*All % changes in this and other sections reflect comparisons from FY2010 to FY2011
**Reported in millions of gallons per day

Water Distribution and Wastewater Collection

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 $2.8 billion to improve and expand this distribution and collection network in all five boroughs.

Distribution Network Highlight: The time to repair broken  high priority hydrants has plummeted, down from an average of 15.2 days in FY2009 to 5.9 days in FY2011.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Catch Basin Complaints

12,943

11,330

10,539

-7.0%

Catch Basin Resolution Time*

7.0

8.4

5.1

-39.3%

Catch Basins Cleaned**

47,098

27,296

20,417

-25.2%

Sewer Backup Complaints

16,977

14,883

14,460

-2.8%

Sewer Backup Resolution Time***

5.6

5.6

5.5

-1.8%

Water Main Breaks

513

421

481

14.3%

Average Time Restoring Service After Break Confirmed***

9.1

5.5

5.4

-1.8%

Average Times to Replace High Priority Broken or Inoperative Hydrants*

15.2

7.5

5.9

-21.3%

Length of Water Mains Inspected for Leaks****

4,058

4,028

3,739

-7.2%

*Reported in days
**Catch basins are inspected on a three-year cycle, and DEP inspected more than 40,000 catch basins in FY2011. 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. This treatment minimizes 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 $6 billion committed to upgrade the City’s treatment plants, and more than $1 billion committed to reduce combined sewer overflows since 2002. In May 2011, DEP certified that its largest plant, Newtown Creek, was meeting monthly federal secondary treatment standards, meaning that all 14 wastewater plants are now meeting this standard.

Wastewater Treatment Highlight: DEP’s comprehensive plan to reduce nitrogen in city waterbodies has brought nitrogen discharges from wastewater treatment plants down by an additional 15%.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Total Suspended Solid Removal (Citywide)

90%

89%

90%

1%

Effluent Complying with Standards

99.5%

99.5%

99.7%

0.2%

Gallons of Wastewater Treated*

1285.3

1292.5

1251.8

-3%

Nitrogen Discharged Into East River and Jamaica Bay**

163,017

150,092

130,483

-15%

*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 in 2005 for the first time in 30 years 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: Asbestos inspections have increased by nearly 22%.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Air Complaints Received

11,692

9,699

8,623

-11.1%

Air Inspections Conducted

9,550

8,492

7,880

-7.2%

Time to Close Air Complaints*

13.05

10.84

7.70

-29.0%

Noise Complaints Received

39,371

31,778

31,400

-1.2%

Noise Inspections Conducted

21,343

19,932

18,587

-6.7%

Time to Close Noise Complaints*

17.68

15.25

9.94

-34.8%

Asbestos Complaints Received

1,391

1,180

1,320

11.9%

Asbestos Inspections Conducted

4,395

5,280

6,422

21.6%

Time to Close Asbestos Complaints*

0.23

0.27

0.24

-11.1%

Total Violations Issued (air/noise/asbestos)

7,412

9,466

12,171

28.6%

*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 and sign up for paperless billing. 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 also 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. Last year, DEP also launched the Water Debt Assistance 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: As of today, more than 746,000 wireless meter readers have been installed since FY2009, accounting for roughly 85% of all DEP customers.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Total Calls to DEP’s Call Center

522,605

587,672

660,008

12.3%

Average Wait Time*

30

60

73**

21.7%

Wireless Automated Meter Reading Units Installed

39,324

334,227

331,176

-0.9%

*Reported in seconds
**At the beginning of 2011, DEP’s Call Center invested in a new operating phone system that was set in place to more efficiently answer and direct customer calls. While staff was trained in the new system, call wait times temporarily increased. Now that the new system is up and running and workers are more familiar with it, average speed of calls answered since March 2011 has been 33 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 $2.8 billion for City Water Tunnel No. 3 – more funding for the tunnel than the previous five Administrations combined. Among the projects awarded this year is the $121 million for the last phase of the $350 million reconstruction of the Gilboa Dam in Schoharie County to extend its useful life for 50 to 100 years.

Construction Highlight: Despite the economic slowdown, DEP still continues to invest more than $1.2 billion in construction work to maintain and expand the city’s water and sewer infrastructure network.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Contracts Awarded

117

104

97

-7%

All Capital Funds Committed*

$2,175

$2,650

$1,251

-53%

*Reported in millions of dollars

Environmental Health and Safety

Since 2002, DEP has undertaken significant measures designed to develop and  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 EHS program that codifies policies in more than 60 regulatory based areas; trained nearly 6,000 employees were trained in approximately 400 individual courses to implement those programs in the field; and conducted approximately 1,000 EHS compliance audits.  DEP’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety includes permanent internal compliance, EHS communications, and compliance assistance units and establishes a toll-free hotline for employees to report concerns and complaints. In total, DEP facilities have corrected tens of thousands of compliance corrective actions. DEP’s program is committed to continuous improvement of EHS performance.

EHS Highlight: With safety training a major focus, workplace injuries continue to plummet, down an additional 21% in FY2011.

Metric

FY2009

FY2010

FY2011

% Change

Workplace Injuries/Illnesses

418

374

296

-21%

Construction Injuries/Illnesses

134

118

145

23%

EHS Classes Conducted

1,371

1,435

1,394

-2.9%

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600