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October 10, 2018, (845) 334-7868

Reservoir Cleanup Day Volunteers Remove a Record Amount of Debris and Recyclables from Shorelines


More than 400 volunteers removed an estimated 4,650 pounds of debris and recyclables

Photos from the event are available on DEP’s Flickr Page

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today announced that hundreds of volunteers from across the Catskill and Hudson Valley collected an estimated 4,650 pounds of trash and recyclables during this year’s Reservoir Cleanup Day, making it the largest haul since DEP began the annual event five years ago. A total of 410 volunteers participated in this year’s cleanup. The effort to remove debris, litter and recyclables from the shorelines at nine reservoirs was led by school groups, environmental advocates, business leaders, local nonprofits and watershed citizens.

The Sept. 30 event comprised cleanup efforts at eight water supply reservoirs, including Ashokan, Cannonsville, Neversink and Pepacton reservoirs in the Catskill Mountains, and at East Branch, Kensico, Lake Gleneida, Muscoot and New Croton reservoirs in the Hudson Valley. In total, volunteers collected more than 346 bags of debris and recyclables. The haul weighed a total of more than 4,650 pounds. The results marked an increase from last year’s cleanup, at which 300 bags and 4,500 pounds of debris were collected. In many cases, debris collected at the sites had blown onto the reservoir property from nearby roadsides, had washed up along the shores from past storms, or was left behind at access areas used by the public for fishing and boating.

“I want to thank the volunteers who participated in Reservoir Cleanup Day for their hard work and commitment to protecting our shared natural resources,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “The results from our cleanup event are impressive, but they also underscore the need for greater education. Too many people are still carelessly disposing their garbage. DEP is committed to teaching more people about outdoor ethics and the principles of leaving no trace when recreating on our lands and waters.”

“DEP has been a great partner in the effort to promote awareness about marine debris in at many shoreline sites across New York,” said Don Riepe, northeast director for the American Littoral Society, which organizes the broader annual cleanup of shorelines throughout the state. “The City’s annual Reservoir Day Cleanup has become one of the largest New York State Beach Cleanup Day events and we're proud of their commitment to helping keep our shorelines clean.”

Debris collected during the cleanup included 4,702 glass, plastic or metal beverage containers, 1,554 food wrappers, 5,041 small pieces of foam, glass or plastic, 1,117 cigarette butts, 489 yards of fishing line, 872 grocery bags, 1,079 disposable cups and plates, 1,302 bottle caps, 977 take-out food containers, and 16 tires.

Reservoir Cleanup Day was among dozens of similar events happening across the state as part of the American Littoral Society’s annual New York State Beach Cleanup, which organizes volunteers to remove debris from beaches, lake shores and stream banks. Data from the reservoir cleanups was reported back to the American Littoral Society to generate a statewide tally that will soon be available. DEP is among the government agencies, businesses and foundations that sponsor the statewide effort. In 2016, the New York State Beach Cleanup included 5,025 volunteers across who removed 34,548 pounds of debris along 191 miles of shoreline.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of high-quality water each day to more than 9.6 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 other professionals in the watershed. In addition to its $70 million payroll and $166 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 $19.1 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, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

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NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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