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February 8, 2006

Notice Relating to DEP’s Federal Criminal Conviction and Sentence of Probation

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is serving a term of probation as a result of its plea of guilty in 2001 to criminal violations of two federal environmental laws, the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act.  As part of probation, DEP was required by court order to develop and implement an environmental and worker health and safety compliance program relating to the New York City water supply system and submit to oversight by a Court–appointed Monitor.

One of the conditions of probation is that DEP not commit a crime while on probation. On February 7, 2006, DEP admitted in federal court that it had violated that condition by knowingly violating a permit issued under the Clean Water Act governing the operation of a DEP sewage treatment plant, the Red Hook Water Pollution Control Plant in Brooklyn. Specifically, DEP admitted that it had failed to properly maintain and promptly repair the emergency electrical system in the Red Hook Plant, as required by an applicable permit.  Any knowing violation of a condition contained in a permit issued under the Clean Water Act is a federal felony. DEP has acknowledged that the emergency electrical system in the Red Hook plant failed to operate during the blackout of August 14, 2003, leading to the discharge of thirty million gallons of untreated sewage into the East River.

As a result of its violation of probation, on February 7, 2006, DEP was resentenced by a federal judge to an additional term of probation of at least three years, and was required to extend its compliance program to the entire agency and submit to further oversight by the Court–appointed Monitor.

The Commissioner of DEP has stated that she is fully committed to achieving environmental excellence in all of DEP’s operations and to the protection of all of DEP’s workers through compliance with laws governing worker safety. The Commissioner has stated that the development and implementation of the environmental and worker health and safety compliance program mandated by probation is a priority of her administration.

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600