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New DEP rules for NYC watershed

Apr 05, 2010 10:20 pm
From The Daily Freeman:
Updated regulations for the New York City reservoir system watershed took effect on Sunday. City Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway said the new regulations amend existing regulations to align them with changes made in federal and state law over the past 10 years, and address issues that have been raised during the city’s administration and enforcement of the regulations since their adoption. The previous regulations were adopted in 1997 as part of the Filtration Avoidance Determination issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which allowed the city to continue operating its unfiltered drinking system from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds.... Fourteen sections of the Watershed Regulations have been updated to prevent contamination to and degradation of the city’s surface water supply. Highlights of the provisions, according to the news release, include:
• Enhanced standards for the control of stormwater runoff from certain construction sites. For example, in commercial areas with a large amount of impervious surfaces, the revised regulations will require additional stormwater treatment, such as construction of larger or secondary detention basins. The Department of Environmental Protection has also adopted the requirements of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for construction activities to ensure complementary enforcement of the latest regulatory standards for stormwater runoff.
• New provisions to allow for sewage treatment plants in certain areas of the Croton watershed. This will authorize city agency to grant variances for new or expanded surface discharging wastewater treatment plants in closer proximity to the Croton reservoir.
• Updated criteria defining the quality of drinking water reservoirs consistent with state and federal standards, specifically concerning stricter phosphorus limits for select basins.

The changes that took effect Sunday apply to all counties located within the Croton, Delaware and Catskill watersheds, according to the news release. The city agency said it started the process of revising the watershed regulations more than five years ago and that the revised regulations were published for public review and comment in the City Record in 2008. Public hearings on the proposed changes were held that same year. After reviewing comments, the agency made revisions and the updated regulations were submitted to the state Department of Health in 2009. The agency received approval in February for final publication in the City Record, which occurred on March 3, and the regulations became effective 30 days after final publication, according to the release.
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