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New York City's Wastewater Treatment System

Where does New York City's water come from?

Each day New York City delivers about 1 billion gallons of safe drinking water to over 8 million City residents and another 1 million consumers who live in Westchester, Putnam, Ulster and Orange Counties north of the City. The source of New York City’s drinking water is supplied by a network of 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes in a 1,972 square-mile watershed that extends 125 miles north and west of New York City.

Between the water supply and wastewater treatment systems are millions of New Yorkers and visitors to the City and an elaborate network of sewers and water mains. Each person can help these systems run better by conserving water, disposing of garbage and household chemicals properly and being concerned about water quality in the City’s surrounding waters.

Where does used water go?

Used water goes into New York City’s extensive wastewater treatment system. This amazing network system that cleans our wastewater consists of: over 7,400 miles of sewer pipes; 135,000 sewer catch basins; over 495 permitted outfalls for the discharge of combined sewer overflows (CSOs); 95 wastewater pumping stations that transport it to 14 wastewater treatment plants located throughout the five boroughs.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Bureau of Wastewater Treatment (BWT) is responsible for the operation and maintenance of all facilities related to the treatment of sewage. The Bureau of Wastewater Treatment has 1,900 employees, an annual operating budget of $340 million, and an annual capital budget of $200 million. With these resources, the 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater discharged by eight million residents, visitors, and workers in New York City each and every day is processed at the treatment plants. After the treatment process is completed, the plants release treated wastewater, called effluent, into the waterways surrounding New York City.

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