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May 29, 1998

Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (718/595-5371)

City Launches 1998 Enhanced Beach Protection Program

Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E. announced today the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has begun its 1998 Enhanced Beach Protection Program. This program is designed to heighten existing monitoring of infrastructure that service City beaches and further minimize the chance of beach closures. The Enhanced Beach Protection Program 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 will supplement our already comprehensive monitoring efforts by increasing surveillance and preventative maintenance of facilities critical to the City's beaches. The successful implementation of this program, in time for the bathing season, is due to the cooperation and diligence of personnel from DEP's Bureau of Wastewater Pollution Control." He added, "On behalf of all of us at DEP, we look forward to helping ensure the City's residents enjoy the cleanest beach-going-year in decades."

The Enhanced Beach Protection Program (EBPP) first began last July. Building upon the goals of the 1997 EBPP, the 1998 program will: increase surveillance and preventative maintenance of pumping stations and regulators; perform shoreline surveillance of sewage 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 1997 EBPP show that the program successfully:

  • eliminated beach closures;
  • reduced the amount of sewage bypassed (from 33.8 million gallons for the same period in 1996 to 8.1 million gallons in 1997);
  • reduced the number and quantities of bypasses at key sewage regulators; and
  • reduced raw bypasses at pumping stations both in quantity and duration resulting in the bypass of less than 0.006% of the total flow conveyed through DEP's entire wastewater collection system.

The 1998 EBPP is expected to improve upon the successes of the 1997 season. It will be effective throughout the 1998 beach season (until September 30) during which the hours for facility inspections will be extended from 6:00 AM through 10:00 PM.

Areas of emphasis specific to the 1998 program include the following:

  • 22 facilities identified as requiring high maintenance to reduce or eliminate a dry-weather bypass will be monitored between one and three times a day, or continuously in the case of facilities that are fully automated. All remaining facilities, or 498 regulators and 76 pumping stations, will undergo a normal schedule of maintenance.
  • DEP's Harbor Marine Programs unit will become an integral part of the EBPP by increasing the amount of surveillance and monitoring of harbor waters. Bureau personnel will increase the frequency and locations monitored, particularly during low tide, looking for dry weather discharge and inspecting combined sewer overflows.
  • An average bypass response time of 8 hours, and the prevention of any beach closings during the season have been established as program goals.
  • As the beach-going season arrives, residents and visitors alike can be assured that DEP is taking extra precautions to maintain and inspect critical wastewater facilities to ensure the continued protection of the City's bathing waters.


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