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Riverkeeper Announces Victory in Enforcing Watershed Laws That Protect Water Quality


Contact: Tina Posterli, 914-478-4501 x 239, [email protected]

Tip from citizen watchdog leads to cleanup of junkyard sites in West-of-Hudson Watershed

Ossining and White Plains, NY – September 6, 2012 – Riverkeeper announced today that a citizen watchdog tip and its own investigation led to New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) requiring the cleanup of a junkyard operation in the West-of-Hudson watershed town of Fleischmanns, located just outside of the Catskill Forest Preserve.

A citizen watchdog reported discharges of auto fluids from junkyards into bodies of water that drain into the Pepacton Reservoir. Acting on the tip, Riverkeeper investigated the operations for possible violations of New York City Watershed Regulations and then turned the information over to DEP. DEP responded with an inspection of one of the junkyards, and after a conversation with the owner, it was agreed that the cars would be removed.

As a result of the watchdog’s report and Riverkeeper’s continued investigation, cars from two additional junkyard sites were crushed and removed on the same day.

“This violation of the laws that protect water quality in the New York City watershed would still be going on today if a concerned citizen had not stepped forward,” said Kate Hudson, Watershed Program Director for Riverkeeper. “We commend DEP for acting quickly to hold the polluter accountable once the violations were brought to their attention. It is because of these citizen eyes on the water that Riverkeeper is able to work with enforcement agencies to bring polluters to justice. Working together in cooperation with citizens and enforcement agencies to protect our waters is how Riverkeeper started and is the core of our mission.”

Fleischmanns activist Victoria Quesada said, “Streamside village junkyards are a blight on our communities and a danger to the safe drinking water of millions of people. It would seem that upstate and downstate communities’ interests are aligned in removing junkyards from streamsides and floodplains.”

“Protecting our natural resources is everyone’s responsibility, and we are fortunate that Riverkeeper and our neighbors in the watershed remain alert to potential threats to water quality,” said DEP Deputy Commissioner Paul Rush.

Junkyards, which may contain toxics such as freon from cooling systems, asbestos found in the brake pads and lining of old cars, motor oil, and anti-freeze, endanger public health and the environment if they are not properly maintained and regulated.

Riverkeeper is committed to continuing to work with DEP to monitor junkyard operations throughout the watershed to prevent contaminants from entering New York’s rivers and streams and depends on vigilant citizens to report suspected polluters.
Citizens suspecting illegal pollution in the Watershed can submit a report online or call 1-800-21-RIVER ext. 235.

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