Blogs > Docket > TAKE ACTION TODAY: Demand Protections for the Lower Esopus Creek (Updated)

TAKE ACTION TODAY: Demand Protections for the Lower Esopus Creek (Updated)

Sawkill/Esopus Confluence

Photo courtesy Ulster County
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Photo courtesy Ulster County

On August 23, 2013, the New York State Department of Health Released draft revisions to New York City’s Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD). The document allows NYC to avoid filtering water it collects from watersheds in upstate New York for consumption in the City. It also requires NYC to acquire and preserve land and implement protective regulations in those upstate areas.

In recent years, in order to provide clean water for its ratepayers, NYC has discharged turbid, muddy water from its Ashokan Reservoir through a Waste Channel to the Lower Esopus Creek, which runs through part of Ulster County before meeting the Hudson River at Saugerties. These discharges have caused damage to property, flooding, and loss of recreational, environmental and economic resources.

The draft FAD released to the public allows the discharges to continue in nearly the same fashion that caused severe problems in the Esopus. It also omits key provisions that would require the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to fund an independent expert study of alternatives to those releases. Further, despite multiple requests from elected officials and environmental groups, DOH has refused to hold a public hearing to address the issue of discharges to the Lower Esopus.

We urge you to submit your own comments demanding that:

  • DOH require an independent expert evaluation of alternatives to DEP’s muddy releases;
  • put in place interim operating rules for the release channel that will assure that the releases DOH has directed under the FAD do not result in violations of state or federal environmental laws; and,
  • schedule at least one public hearing on the FAD in Ulster County.

If you live in or visit Ulster County, tell DOH how the FAD and New York City’s operation of its reservoir system have affected you. If you drink water from the New York City system, stand with your neighbors and speak out to stop the pollution of the Lower Esopus Creek.

DOH is taking comments on the FAD revisions through November 15. Written comments may be sent by mail to: NYSDOH, Attn: Pamela Young, Empire State Plaza, Corning Tower Room 1110, Albany, NY 12237, or via email to: [email protected]

Note that the comment period was extended, with the deadline for comment now set at November 15, not October 15. This blog post was originally published August 27, and updated October 11.

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