DEC to require more environmental study for Ashokan Reservoir water release proposal


ALBANY – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on Wednesday the agency is requiring the New York City Department of Environmental Protection to undertake additional analysis and prepare a Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement for releases from the city’s Ashokan Reservoir. 

The new requirements follow DEC’s review of nearly 1,300 comments submitted during the 2021 public comment period on a Draft Catalum State Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit Modification and draft Environmental Impact Statement for Ashokan Reservoir releases. 

“Safeguarding water quality for Hudson Valley and Catskill communities is critical to ongoing efforts to protect New York City’s water supply,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. 

“Protecting our natural resources and the quality of our drinking water is of paramount importance,” State Senator Michelle Hinchey. “With the climate crisis making extreme weather more frequent and intense, we know that new mechanisms for remediating these turbid releases are desperately needed.”

Ulster County Executive Patrick Ryan called the DEC decision “a major victory for our community — after decades of fighting to hold New York City accountable for the damage they have caused, and continue to cause.”

“The Ashokan Reservoir forms a major part of one of the greatest water supply systems in the world, and today’s decision by the State DEC recognizes that delivering safe, pure drinking water to the residents of New York City cannot come at the expense of water quality or the quality of life of those who live downstream from the reservoir,” said Kathy Nolan, senior research director for Catskill Mountainkeeper. “By requiring New York City to do further analysis, the DEC is protecting water quality in the Esopus Creek and Hudson River, while making sure that the best possible options are considered to deal with and mitigate impacts from climate change. The communities near the Ashokan Reservoir can now step up efforts to make sure that their needs are addressed and to participate constructively in the ongoing review of New York City’s plans.”

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