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May 18, 2012


Chris Gilbride/Corey Chambliss (DEP) (718) 595-6600

DEP Provides Update On Pepacton Reservoir Oil Leak

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection today provided the following update on the Pepacton Reservoir oil leak:

  • DEP Police discovered a potential oil spill in Pepacton Reservoir during routine helicopter surveillance operations and immediately dispatched staff to the site to investigate.
  • DEP determined that the spill posed no threat to water quality or public health.
  • This week divers found the immediate source of the leak to be a 4-inch diameter pipe that is protruding through the bottom sediment.  Although capped, the pipe has several small holes which are allowing some product (believed to be diesel fuel) to escape. Additionally, a second point, approximately 12” from the pipe, on the bottom of the reservoir is showing signs of leakage.
  • As an immediate, temporary measure a dive was completed yesterday to erect a modified metal drum with a fitted valve and plug over the top of leaks. The drum was weighed down and is capturing the leaking substance and preventing it from reaching the reservoir surface.
  • A surveillance dive was completed this morning. The containment system installed yesterday was still in place and appeared secure. The divers noted there was no visual evidence of oil outside that containment system.
  • Visual reconnaissance identified a second intact pipe protruding through the bottom sediment approximately 8 feet away from the first pipe. In addition, magnetometer readings suggest an object 4 feet in width.
  • Booms will continue to be maintained as a precautionary measure while the effectiveness of the mitigation method is verified.
  • Plans are in progress to remove any residue that has already reached the surface of the water.
  • State and Federal regulators have been apprised of the situation and DEP will continue to keep you informed.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties.  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 employs nearly 6,000 employees, including more than 750 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed.  In addition to its $49 million payroll and $132 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 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 a planned $13.2 billion in investments over the next 10 years that creates up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater, or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/nycwater.

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