FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-35
May 7, 2014
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Statement from Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Emily Lloyd on the Release of Final Revisions to New York City’s Filtration Avoidance Determination
“The final revisions to New York City’s Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) are an important stamp of approval for the award-winning programs that DEP has administered for 21 years to protect the source of high-quality, unfiltered drinking water that sustains nearly half the state’s population. Since New York City received its first FAD in 1993, we have continued to adjust and expand our work through vital partnerships with local governments in the Catskills and Hudson Valley, along with nonprofit groups that help us safeguard creeks, streams, reservoirs and the lands that surround them.
“Through these partnerships, New York City has protected drinking water at its source by restoring streams that run through local communities, funding infrastructure improvements at watershed farms, building new facilities to collect and treat wastewater, protecting thousands of acres of open space, and testing water quality in streams, reservoirs and street-side taps more than 500,000 times a year.
“While the FAD revisions announced today allow our protection programs to continue, they also recognize that our watersheds must be prepared for future threats such as severe storms. As a result, DEP will commit roughly $70 million toward projects to further address the potential impacts of flooding from large storms. In the aftermath of tropical storms Irene and Lee, these initiatives represent an important step to protect the water supply and our neighbors in the Catskills. As we move toward implementation of these projects and others outlined in the FAD, I also want to reiterate DEP’s commitment to hearing input from watershed residents, elected officials and other stakeholders. By working together, we will continue to maintain the safety and reliability of the country’s largest unfiltered water supply for the more than 9 million New Yorkers who depend on it every day.”
New York City has invested approximately $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs that include land acquisition, a variety of partnership programs targeted to address specific threats to water quality, and environmentally appropriate economic development programs in the Catskills. The FAD revisions announced today will increase that commitment to $1.7 billion. Initiatives outlined in the FAD focus on source-water protection, based on the principle that it is most efficient and effective to protect drinking water at its source in the watershed. The City’s watershed protection programs were recognized in 2013 by the American Water Works Association, which honored DEP with its award for source-water protection. More information about the programs, including some itemized details about our watershed protection programs, can be found on the DEP website here.
DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of high quality water each day to more than 9 million New Yorkers. This includes more than 70 upstate communities and institutions in Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties who consume an average of 110 million total gallons of drinking water daily from New York City’s water supply system. This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed. In addition to its $68 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs—including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council—that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with nearly $14 billion in investments planned over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/nycwater.