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February 17, 1999

Contact: Geoffrey Ryan (718/595-5371)

New York City To Hold Information Meetings On Studies Of Filtration Plans For Catskill And Delaware Water Supplies

New York City will hold two public information meetings to present and describe studies of plans for filtration of water from the City’s Catskill and Delaware supply systems, according to an announcement by Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the City’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The meetings at Westchester County Community College and City Hall in New York City are being held prior to DEP beginning a formal Environmental Impact Study.

“The City is absolutely committed to a very comprehensive watershed protection program in the Catskill and Delaware watersheds and does not anticipate a need to build a filtration plant for Catskill/Delaware water anytime in the near future,” said Commissioner Miele. “The Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed on January 21, 1997, unites watershed communities, the City, New York State, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and environmental organizations in support of that enhanced water supply protection program. Based on that agreement, the EPA granted the City a long-term waiver of the requirement that it filter water from the Catskill/Delaware supply. The EPA’s Filtration Avoidance Determination, however, does require that the City proceed with plans for the design and construction of a water treatment facility that could be built if the Catskill/Delaware supply’s filtration waiver is withdrawn. Specifically, the City is required to select a site for the facility, and to prepare preliminary designs and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement by December 2000.”

The City has completed planning studies for Catskill/Delaware filtration and has determined appropriate design parameters for its treatment. The studies included an extensive review of potential sites for the facility. The 25 best alternative sites were evaluated in detail. Site size, location, engineering and operational factors, land use, geological, ecological, and financial issues were all considered. Based on analysis of these alternatives, the City determined that, if filtration is required in the future, the best location for a single treatment facility would be on City-owned land at Eastview in the Towns of Mt. Pleasant and Greenburgh in Westchester County, where connections to the Catskill and Delaware Aqueducts were installed, respectively in 1915 and 1938.

“I want to stress that the City does not expect to build this facility but recognizes EPA’s concern that a design and location be determined in advance should filtration become necessary. The City has made very significant progress in implementing the many conditions of the EPA Determination and Memorandum of Agreement,” said Commissioner Miele, “and we fully expect to continue meeting all the requirements contained in those documents.”

The public information meetings will be held at:

    City Hall
    Public Hearing Room
    New York City
    Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 PM

    Westchester Community College
    Classroom Building, Room 200
    75 Grasslands Road (Route 100C)
    Valhalla, New York
    Thursday, February 25, 6:30 PM

An information sheet about the Catskill/Delaware Supply Systems and information about the meetings are available from Nancy Levine, DEP Watershed Office of Public Affairs, at 914/742-2086.


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