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PR- 149-08
April 24, 2008


Water Security Initiative Will Serve As A Model For Water Utilities Across Country

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Stephen L. Johnson and New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd announced today New York City will receive $12 million from the EPA for a pilot program to develop and evaluate a contamination warning system for its drinking water distribution network. The project, called the Water Security Initiative, is expected to serve as a model for water utilities throughout the country. Regional EPA Administrator Alan J. Steinberg was also on hand for the announcement.

"New York's drinking water is the lifeblood of our City and creating new ways to enhance the protection of our water system is important to keeping New Yorkers safe," said Mayor Bloomberg. "After 9/11, our City increased security and police patrols of our water system and enhanced our water quality monitoring system. I'd like to thank EPA Administrator Johnson for selecting New York City for this pilot program which will help us build on the steps we have already taken to ensure our City has a clean, reliable water supply."

"The challenge of protecting our nation's drinking water systems is not just an EPA challenge, a state challenge or a New York City challenge," said EPA Administrator Steven L. Johnson. "Through technology, innovation and collaboration, we can provide clean, safe water for every American."

"DEP already has robust water security measures in place and this project will enhance those efforts," DEP Commissioner Lloyd said. "New York City's drinking water is among of the best - and safest - in the world and we would like to thank the EPA for selecting the City's proposal for this initiative."

As part of the Water Security Initiative, DEP will install and evaluate a new warning system that features online water quality monitoring; public health surveillance data; increased sampling and analysis; enhanced security monitoring and surveillance of consumer complaints. The Water Security Initiative will build upon New York City's already extensive existing water quality monitoring program to provide further water quality protection and security and add a new dimension to DEP's multifaceted program that protects the both the quality of the City's drinking water and the infrastructure that delivers this vital resource. The initiative is part of a coordinated federal effort in response to President Bush's homeland security directive to develop more robust surveillance systems for the nation's water quality.

New York City has developed the most comprehensive watershed protection program for any City in the world. In July 2007, Mayor Bloomberg announced the issuance of a 10-year Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) by the EPA for the City's Catskill/Delaware drinking water supply system. The FAD acknowledged the world-class quality of New York City's drinking water system by doubling the length of previous FADs and is the first time that the City has been issued a 10 year FAD. The City leads a select group of five large cities in the country that are not required to filter their drinking water.

DEP is responsible for operating and protecting the City's water supply system, one of the largest in the world, which serves nearly eight million residents of the City and one million people in Westchester, Putnam, Orange and Ulster Counties, as well as the millions of tourists and commuters who visit the City every year. The watershed of the City's 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes includes parts of eight counties on both sides of the Hudson River - Delaware, Greene, Schoharie, Sullivan and Ulster in the Catskill Region, and Dutchess, Putnam and Westchester Counties east of the Hudson.


Stu Loeser/ John Gallagher   (212) 788-2958

Michael Saucier   (Department of Environmental Protection)
(718) 718-6600

Mary Mears (EPA)   (212) 637-3673

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