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May 26, 1999

Contact: Cathy DelliCarpini (718/595-6600)

City Steps Up Beach Protection Program For Summer 1999, Announces Opening of New City Island Sewer Main

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. today announced the start of this year's Enhanced Beach Protection Program and the completion of a new sewer main running under Eastchester Bay at City Island in the Bronx, both of which contribute to water quality improvements at City beaches and shorelines.

DEP's Enhanced Beach Protection Program (EBPP) heightens monitoring of wastewater infrastructure near City beaches for the summer months, minimizing the chance of malfunctions that could cause beach closures. The EBPP supplements DEP's regular monitoring of harbor waters which assesses the quality of the water around our beaches year-round.

Commissioner Miele said, "New York City's beaches have seen remarkable improvement. DEP's Enhanced Beach Protection Program supplements our already comprehensive monitoring efforts by increasing surveillance and preventative maintenance of facilities critical to the City's beaches. We hope that this year's beach program will ensure City residents enjoy the cleanest beach-going-year in decades."

The EBPP was first initiated in July 1997. Building upon the goals of the 1997 and 1998 programs, the 1999 EBPP will:

  • increase surveillance and preventative maintenance of sewage pumping stations and regulators;
  • perform shoreline surveillance of sewer outfalls; and
  • analyze wastewater treatment facilities and sewage bypasses (common during wet weather when sewage flow exceeds storage volume or treatment capacity).

The EBPP's goal is to minimize beach closures by shortening bypass detection time, duration, and volume. The results of the 1998 EBPP show that the program successfully eliminated beach closures and significantly reduced the amount of sewage bypassed.

As in past years, the 1999 EBPP will emphasize increased monitoring of facilities critical to reducing or eliminating dry-weather bypasses, and increased surveillance and monitoring of harbor waters by DEP's Marine Sciences unit. The 1999 EBPP is expected to improve upon the successes of previous seasons. It will be in effect throughout the summer months (until September 15).

Commissioner Miele also announced the completed construction of a new sewer "force" main at City Island in the Bronx, which uses pressure to force sewage flow from the City Island Pumping Station, under Eastchester Bay, to the Bronx mainland for treatment at DEP's Hunts Point Water Pollution Control Plant. In the summer of 1997, the original force main, which was installed in 1973, malfunctioned and temporarily caused the closure of nearby Orchard Beach.

In December 1997, construction began on the $13.4 million force main, buried beneath Eastchester Bay. Twin 14-inch pipes (primary and back-up pipes) extend 8,600 feet between City Island and the Bronx mainland. Construction of the new force main was complete in the spring of 1999.

Commissioner Miele said, "As the beach-going season arrives, residents and visitors alike can be assured that DEP is taking extra precautions to maintain, inspect and where needed, replace, critical wastewater facilities to ensure the continued protection of the City's bathing waters, and uninterrupted enjoyment of City beaches."

DEP's annual New York Harbor Water Quality Survey indicates that New York Harbor's environment is cleaner and water quality better than it has been since the turn of the century. The EBPP and construction of the new force main on City Island are two of DEP's numerous efforts to maintain and improve the quality of New York's harbor waters into the new millennium. For more information on DEP's Harbor Water Quality Survey, visit DEP's Web site at www.ci.nyc.ny.us/dep or call 718-DEP-HELP (337-4357).


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