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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13-16

February 13, 2013

CONTACT:

Christopher Gilbride / Mercedes Padilla (718) 595-6600

Department of Environmental Protection Completes Installation of Pollution Control Devices at Four Locations Along the Bronx River

$26 Million Pilot Program Will Help Keep Trash and Debris Out of the Bronx River;
Construction on a Gowanus Canal Facility to be Completed Later This Year

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced that the $26 million installation of four pollution control devices along the Bronx River will help prevent trash and debris from entering the River. Much of the trash and debris found in New York Harbor, and its connected waterways, originated as litter discarded on city streets that was subsequently washed into the sewer system. To help keep the litter from reaching the Bronx River, DEP has installed below-ground control devices at four sewer outfall locations in the south Bronx. The control devices use hydraulic bar screens and nylon netting systems to capture the litter. This is the first time this type of technology is being used in New York City and later this year DEP will complete construction on a similar facility at the head of the Gowanus Canal.

“Under Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership we have invested $10 billion towards improving New York City harbor water quality and the overall health of our waterways continues to improve to levels not seen in more than a century,” said Commissioner Strickland. “These pollution control devices will help keep litter out of the Bronx and Upper East Rivers and ensure that New York City remains a place where people want to live, work, and raise a family.”

“The installation of these pollution control devices along our borough’s jewel, the Bronx River, is a great investment for our future generations. This program is about more than just keeping trash and debris out of a river, this is about building a community around our natural resources. Our neighbors and our families should be able to enjoy this treasure of the Bronx, and this project will help improve the quality of water in the Bronx River. I thank the Department of Environmental Protection for working to bring this worthwhile project to fruition,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.

"As an elected official who has been involved in improving the quality of the Bronx River for over thirty years, I welcome the litter control devices along the Bronx River including those in my Council district," said Council Member Koppell.

“Removing the pollutants and improving the water quality of the Bronx River has positive rewards which can be seen in the environment and the community. As the ecosystem slowly repairs itself, Bronxites benefit from seeing the restoration of the fish and wildlife right here in their backyard,” states Councilman Joel Rivera.

"The installation of the pollution control system at the Bronx River is a significant step towards improving our waterways and natural resources here in the Bronx," said Council Member Annabel Palma, D-Bx. "This project demonstrates an important investment in our local environment and its impact on the surrounding communities will undoubtedly be positive for generations to come. I am excited that this project will result in the visible improvement of the Bronx River and hope it will encourage residents to enjoy the river and its surrounding area to take advantage of all it has to offer."

Linda Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance attests, “As more and more New Yorkers explore the Bronx River for recreation and enjoyment, we are sure that they will appreciate this contribution to reducing pollution, along with other measures that DEP is taking to improve water quality.”

The litter control devices were installed at the following locations in the Bronx:

  • West Farms Road
  • Bronx Park Avenue
  • Bronx Zoo
  • Sound View Park

As part of the Pilot DEP is using both the nylon netting, which has a lower installation cost but requires manual cleaning after each storm, and the hydraulic bar screens, which are more costly to install but are self-cleaning and direct the trapped debris to a wastewater treatment plant where it is removed. The control devices have been installed in phases over the last 18 months and thus far more than 10 tons of trash and debris has been removed from the nylon netting system. The performance of both methods will be monitored closely and will inform decisions about future deployment of the pollution control devices.

In addition, the city’s 144,000 catch basins are designed to trap litter before it can make its way into the sewer lines. DEP also has a fleet of four skimmer boats that patrol the harbor to capture floating debris, including wood, plastic, metal, rubber, and glass.

The Bronx River is approximately 23 miles long and winds through lower Westchester, Bronx Park, the New York Botanical Garden, and the Bronx Zoo and empties into the Upper East River between the Soundview and Hunts Point neighborhoods.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels, and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including nearly 1,000 in the upstate watershed. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600