EPA Proposes Modification to Plan Allowing New York City to Avoid Filtering Catskill/Delaware Water
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) intends to modify the filtration avoidance determination issued in 2002 for New York City's Catskill/Delaware Water Supply, which allows it not to filter drinking water from this system.
The modification extends the construction schedule for the city's ultraviolet (UV) light disinfection plant and will provide for an additional $6 million investment in wastewater programs to mitigate the delay. The changes follow consultations between EPA, the New York State Department of Health and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.
"The city is progressing with its infrastructure plans to protect the drinking water system, and these enhancements are in the best interests of all the stakeholders," said Alan J. Steinberg, EPA regional administrator. "Adoption of these changes will also result in millions of dollars for enhanced protection of the New York City watershed system."
All drinking water taken from surface water sources must, under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, be filtered to remove microbial contaminants. The law allows EPA to grant a waiver from this requirement to water suppliers if they demonstrate that they have an effective watershed control program and that their water meets strict quality standards. EPA has granted such a waiver, called a filtration avoidance determination (FAD), to New York City for drinking water coming from the Catskill/Delaware watersheds.
The complete plan includes numerous provisions that define the city's obligations to implement a comprehensive watershed control program to protect this water supply. The city is planning to construct an ultraviolet light disinfection plant, which will provide a second disinfection mechanism to supplement its existing chlorination system. The program also provides for septic system upgrades, agriculture programs, stream restoration and other benefits.