Time to SPEAK UP about Westchester Creek, Flushing Creek and Hutchinson River!

SWIM Coalition submitted 3 comment letters to DEP last week outlining our concerns about their proposed Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plans (CSO LTCP) for Westchester Creek, Flushing Creek and Hutchinson River. The City (DEP) has delivered their proposed water quality improvement plans for these three waterbodies to the State (DEC) for review and has invited public comment on all three.

Please read our letters to find out more about why we are concerned about issues such as:

  • the over-reliance on disinfection as a strategy instead of reducing actual CSO
  • the lack of coordination with other waterbodies and water quality plans
  • the failure to plan to meet swimmable, fishable water quality standards in some cases
  • the lack of acknowledgement that people are currently actively using some of these waterbodies and thus they should be cleaned up to standards that reflect this use

Even if these specific waterbodies are not ones you use, the issues identified in these plans are reoccurring issues throughout the City’s plans, and what is decided here will set a precedent for future plans. While these plans are under review by the State, we have an opportunity to influence both the DEC and EPA on their decisions. We encourage SWIM members and supporters to send your own letters to DEP with a cc to DEC and EPA. Feel free to draw from our letters as a guide and be sure to explain how you use the waterway and why you care about clean water. Additionally, here is a short Fact Sheet SWIM created that explains an LTCP and the public process.

In addition to S.W.I.M.’s public comment letters, which you can access on our website, several of our members have also written excellent letters to DEP or made public comments:

  • Friends of Flushing Creek – Flushing Creek LTCP Comment Letter
  • Empire Dragon Boat – Flushing Creek LTCP Comment Letter
  • Two professors from Queens College published on the Flushing Creek LTCP in the Queens Chronicle this Op-Ed 

The City is moving forward with 11 water quality improvement initiatives over the next few years. These plans will impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods for many generations to come. SWIM is reviewing all of the plans and issuing comment letters and holding community workshops to review the plans. Please join us in our efforts to work with the City to improve water quality in NYC’s waterways for all New Yorkers. To learn more about our forthcoming action plans, please join us at our next public meeting on Nov. 6 at Pratt.

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