FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 14-85
October 24, 2014
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Department of Environmental Protection to Hold Public Meetings for Critical Upstate Water Supply Infrastructure Projects
Residents Will Have the Opportunity to Offer Comments on Draft Scope for Projects Related to Delaware Aqueduct Repairs
Public Meetings to be Held in Orange, Sullivan, Ulster and Westchester Counties
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection will host four public meetings in November to give residents the opportunity to offer comments on the draft scope of work for an environmental impact statement related to several critical upstate water supply infrastructure projects. The projects are part of a $1.5 billion program that seeks to ensure clean, safe and reliable drinking water for future generations of New Yorkers. Its central component is a 2.5-mile bypass tunnel that will convey water around a leaking section of the Delaware Aqueduct, which provides 60 percent of New York City’s drinking water. The program also includes infrastructure improvements to the Catskill Aqueduct, the use of supplemental water supplies while the Delaware Aqueduct is shut down for repairs, and water conservation initiatives in the city.
Work on the bypass tunnel was previously evaluated and a final environmental impact statement on that portion of the repair program was issued in May 2012. Earlier this month, DEP released the draft scope for a second environmental impact statement (EIS) that will assess other portions of the upstate repair program. The draft scope can be found on the DEP website by clicking here. The subject of this draft scope and EIS includes:
- The Catskill Aqueduct Rehabilitation project, which will replace valves and optimize the carrying capacity of the Aqueduct.
- The use of additional water from New York City’s Catskill and Croton water supply systems to ensure supply reliability during the estimated 8-month shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct.
- Temporary operational changes at the four Delaware Water Supply System reservoirs during the estimated 8-month shutdown of the Delaware Aqueduct, including the installation of temporary siphons to control water released from Rondout Reservoir.
- Activity at existing shafts along the Delaware Aqueduct to facilitate inspection of the entire 45-mile length of the tunnel between Rondout and West Branch reservoirs.
- Internal grouting to seal cracks and eliminate leaks from the Delaware Aqueduct in Wawarsing, N.Y.
The scope will outline what environmental factors must be included in the EIS, which will guide the review of the projects listed above. During the public meetings in November, DEP will seek comments that relate directly to the draft scope, including items that may need to be added or altered. The public meetings will be held at the following dates and locations:
- Thursday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Town of Newburgh Town Hall, 1496 Route 300, Newburgh, N.Y.
- Friday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. at SUNY Sullivan, 112 College Road, Loch Sheldrake, N.Y. The hearing will be held in the Paul Grossinger Dining Room.
- Wednesday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at the Ellenville Government Center, 2 Elting Court, Ellenville, N.Y.
- Thursday, Nov. 20 at 7 p.m. at Yorktown Town Hall, 363 Underhill Ave., Yorktown Heights, N.Y.
Each of the public hearings will be preceded at 6 p.m. by an informal information session at which the public can ask questions and receive more information about the projects from DEP. Those who cannot attend the meetings may also offer written comments by emailing DEP at WFFComments@dep.nyc.gov. Comments may also be sent by mail to Jennifer Farmwald, Senior Project Manager, Bureau of Environmental Planning and Analysis, New York City Department of Environmental Protection, 59-17 Junction Boulevard, 11th Floor, Flushing, New York 11373.
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 $70 million payroll and $157 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.7 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.