Watershed Update

May 22, 2012

The vast New York City Watershed area has taken a prominent spot in the
public eye thanks to the 2011 floods AND the hydrofracking issue.
Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports the watershed is
experiencing a burst of activity...

The 70-thousand acre watershed system employs a combination of tunnels,
aqueducts and reservoirs to meet the New York City 's daily need for
fresh water.

The system is constantly being monitored and upgraded: the New York City
Department of Environmental Protection reports progress is being made in
efforts to fix the leaking Delaware Aqueduct - the Dutchess County Town
of Wappinger and DEP reaching an "agreement in principle" that entails
the DEP paying the town $11 million for permitting, design and
construction of a 12 inch water main and for a water distribution system
in the Chelsea hamlet district, which would become a permanent water
source for that section of town. 

The DEP plan calls for Wapinger to provide water for shaft construction
and potable supply purposes by September of next year until the
project's targeted completion date of 2021.

The DEP is also dealing with a mystery oil spill in one of its feeder
reservoirs - the spill was discovered near the end of April near the
East Delaware Tunnel. Divers found a four-inch pipe protruding from the
bottom of the reservoir, leaking what appeared to be diesel oil. A
containment system was put in place both on the surface and below.

Diane Galusha is the Communications Director at the Catskill Watershed
Corporation - she explains the Pepacton is one of six reservoirs in the
Catskill-Delaware region built between 1915 and 1965

There has been speculation that the source of the contamination is
somehow connected to flood debris - the DEP has not responded to
repeated calls for comment -  -  -the Pepacton is one of three
reservoirs the DEP is opening this weekend for recreational boating

Galusha notes the DEP is requiring all boats be steam cleaned prior to
launch to prevent the introduction Zebra Mussels and other invasive
species into the wateres. The aim is improve quality of life and provide
economic stimulus in surrounding communities.

And today County Executive Rob Astorino and the Northern Westchester
Watershed Committee announced the completion of a major inter-municipal
agreement that will streamline $10 million of clean water projects

Astorino says the agreement will cut the time needed to approve projects
down form 6 to 12 months to "a matter of weeks"