DEP to Begin Construction of Stormwater Collection System Near Cross River Reservoir

July 23, 2020

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will begin construction next month on a stormwater collection system that will enhance the City’s protection of Cross River Reservoir in Westchester County. The $1.1 million project will protect water quality by capturing runoff, sediment and nutrients from a 9.3-acre drainage area in the Town of Bedford.

“Stormwater infrastructure is crucial for maintaining the high quality of water in our reservoir system,” DEP Commissioner Vincent Sapienza said. “These sensible investments in watershed protection keep New York City’s drinking water tasting great, while also helping to save money on more costly forms of treatment or filtration.”

The project will collect stormwater runoff from an area along Maple Avenue, a gravel road that runs downhill toward Cross River Reservoir. DEP will improve and reinforce several hundred feet of roadside ditches that collect stormwater runoff along Maple Avenue. Those ditches will be lined with stone to prevent erosion. The roadside ditches will direct water into a new system of underground pipes and filters that will remove sediment from the runoff. Clean water will then be conveyed through a stone-lined channel and into the reservoir. The new stormwater treatment system will occupy 1 acre of city-owned land approximately 2,000 feet east of Cross River Dam. Construction of the stormwater system will begin during the first week of August and take approximately four months to complete. DEP will close a portion of Maple Avenue for approximately two days to install the new drainage structures and work on some portions of the roadside ditches. No long-duration closures of the road are expected. Work will happen Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

DEP estimates the new system will capture more than 6 pounds of phosphorus each year. In large quantities, nutrients such as phosphorus can degrade water quality by exacerbating the growth of algae, or by changing the taste and smell of drinking water. More than 100 stormwater control practices have been constructed near the City’s reservoirs to capture sediment and nutrients. DEP performs regular maintenance on these stormwater systems to ensure their proper function.

The Maple Avenue stormwater project was a requirement of New York City’s Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD), the state permit that allows the City to operate its Catskill-Delaware Water Supply System without filtration. While Cross River Reservoir generally operates at part of the City’s Croton Water Supply System, which is filtered, a pumping station at the reservoir is capable of moving water into the unfiltered Delaware Aqueduct to support the City during times of drought or planned infrastructure outages.

Cross River Reservoir stores 10.3 billion gallons of drinking water at full capacity. That water is collected from a 30-square-mile watershed, largely located in the towns of Bedford, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge. Placed into service in 1908, Cross River was among the final two waterbodies added to the Croton Water Supply System, which provides about 10 percent of New York City’s drinking water on a typical day.

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 $168.9 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 $20.1 billion in investments planned over the next decade 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.