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City Releases Stormwater Management Plan to Further Reduce Pollution and Improve Health of Local Waterways

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Vincent Sapienza today joined with colleagues from across City government to release the draft New York City Stormwater Management Plan as required by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, to help further improve the health of New York Harbor. The goal of the plan is to reduce or remove pollutants in stormwater runoff in those portions of the city that are serviced by a separated sewer system through an integrated approach. The plan is comprised of twelve innovative and integrated programmatic strategies including behavioral change campaigns, enhancements for stormwater management on over 800 City-owned properties, increased monitoring and water quality testing, green infrastructure, litter reduction, public outreach and education, and details the development of two new programs for stormwater management from industrial and commercial sites and construction activities. The draft Stormwater Management Program Plan is available at nyc.gov/dep/ms4.

“This plan builds on my Administration’s environmental roadmap, OneNYC: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, and raises the bar on the great work we have already done to improve the health of our surrounding waterbodies,” said Mayor de Blasio. “It creates innovative new initiatives, sets audacious new goals, and holds us accountable by mandating that we measure our progress. Together, today’s New Yorkers will continue the work of those who came before us, to enhance and protect our waterways and pass on a healthy and sustainable harbor to our children.”

“New York Harbor is cleaner today than it has been in more than a century, but we have more work to do and this includes reducing pollution through the City’s separate stormwater sewer system,” said DEP Commissioner Sapienza. “In order to develop a comprehensive stormwater management plan we have worked with the City Council to pass legislation, held more than 200 coordination meetings with agency partners, briefed and incorporated feedback from environmental, neighborhood and development organizations, and held technical workshops and released progress reports. We look forward to continuing this partnership with all stakeholders as we work to protect public health and the environment.”

Council Member Costa Constantinides, Chair of the Council’s Environmental Protection Committee, said, "Our waterways are our greatest natural resource. Protecting our waters from unnecessary environmental hazards brings benefits to marine life, the ecosystem, and our entire environment. The new Stormwater Management Plan will reduce the pollution that reaches our waterways by incorporating green infrastructure, decreasing litter, and increasing public education. I was proud to have helped ensure that our city created this plan through my legislation, now Local Law 97 of 2017. I thank DEP Commissioner Sapienza for his work on this important plan.”

“The health of our waterways is a reflection of the health of our city. By keeping pollutants out of our storm water, New Yorkers are both beneficiaries and stewards of our shared natural environment,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability.

“NYC Parks manages 30,000 acres of parkland across the five boroughs—and with that much area, smart stormwater management in parks can make a real impact. That’s why we’re proud to partner with DEP through the Community Parks Initiative to bring scores of park state-of-the-art green infrastructure like bioswales and rain gardens, which not only relieve city sewers during storms, but make our shared spaces more beautiful,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.

“Every New Yorker has a role to play in keeping our waterways clean,” said Department of Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia. “Street litter washes into catch basins and waterways. And while our Sanitation employees work hard to keep the city healthy by cleaning streets and collecting curbside garbage and recyclables, every New Yorker can do more and improve the health of our waterways through simple steps—reducing waste, ditching single-use plastic bags and carrying reusable bags, and not littering. We’re excited to continue our work with city agencies, community groups, and neighborhoods through local events and campaigns and keep building on the progress of having a healthier, cleaner New York City.”

“The FDNY is committed to protecting life and property, as well as our environment,” said Fire Commissioner Daniel A. Nigro. “As part of this extensive plan to reduce pollution, the Department is working closely with DEP to improve training and implement procedures that will result in the prevention of pollutants from entering the waterways of our city.”

“The New York City Department of Environmental Protection through its Stormwater Management Plan has done a great job of creating initiatives, measurable goals and strategies to improve the health of the New York Harbor,” said Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett. “I commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Sapienza for implementing a plan that will ensure that our waterways are clean and safe.”

“DDC works with DEP throughout the City replacing combined sewers with separate storm and sanitary systems, reducing the sewage load in local waterways and helping to manage the flow of water into the City’s sewage treatment system,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction Acting Commissioner Ana Barrio. “DDC also incorporates environmental measures such as green roofs, permeable surfaces and rainwater recycling as part of our efforts to promote sustainable and resilient design for the City’s public buildings. We welcome this integrated strategy to more closely coordinate the efforts of the various agencies involved in this effort.”

“As the City continues to grow to a population of 8.6 million residents, the quality of the harbor matters more than ever. DCP is happy to be have partnered with DEP on this important initiative,” said Michael Marrella, Director of the Waterfront and Open Space division at the Department of City Planning.

“The Buildings Department looks forward to working with our partners at DEP to promote healthy waterways in and around our city,” said Buildings Commissioner Rick D. Chandler, PE.

“Our waterways are some of our city's most precious natural resources, and the plan announced today will help keep them clean and safe,” said Lisette Camilo, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Citywide Administrative Services. “We are taking the lead by finding creative ways to reduce stormwater runoff that can carry harmful pollutants into our rivers and streams.”

In addition to briefings for the five borough service cabinets and environmental organizations, the public will have the opportunity to learn more and provide comments at the following public meeting:

  • Wednesday, May 2, 5:30-7:30pm
    Staten Island Borough Hall, Room 122
    10 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island, NY

Public comments will be accepted via email to ms4@dep.nyc.gov until May 15, 2018. The final plan will be submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation by August 1, 2018.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewers and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program, with a planned $18.9 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit nyc.gov/dep.