It’s important for the City to hear our voices at their January 12 Public Meeting! Please join us on January 12 at Laguardia Community College in the Building E-Poolside Cafe from 6-8 p.m. to let NYC Department of Environmental Protection know how much you care about your local waterways and want them to improve their plans to stop sewage overflows into our waterways! Here is a link to the meeting flier for more details.
SWIM and our Community Partners have been busy writing and sending comment letters to DEP over the past few months expressing our concerns about the 6 proposed Combined Sewer Overflow Long Term Control Plans they have presented to the public so far. They’ll propose plans for 10 local waterways by the end of 2017 and implement those plans through at least the year 2030.
The scale of these long-term water quality improvement plans is immense and they will impact our neighborhoods for generations to come. DEP has made great strides in their efforts to improve the water quality in NYC’s waterways. We commend their tireless and often thankless work on behalf of all New Yorkers. There is more work to be done and we respectfully submit that the proposed plans presented by the City to date do not go far enough.
The City needs to hear from all of us in a unified voice that the plans they have proposed will not significantly improve the water quality and protect the vital ecosystems in our waterways. Let DEP know about your concerns and goals for your local waterway. See our fact sheet below for how to get involved.
Our Key Concerns Are:
- Despite acknowledging massive amounts of sewer overflow, the plans often point the finger at other pollution sources, arguing that further CSO reductions would not meet water quality goals because those other sources (including sources controlled by the City) would still remain. Instead, for each water body, the DEP should determine the necessary pollution reduction levels from all sources to achieve fishable, swimmable waters. This is the only way to determine the necessary targets for CSO reduction.
- Many of the plans propose to disinfect overflowing sewage with chlorine, rather than actually reducing the volume and frequency of sewage overflows. We think the City can do better than that and propose more solutions that address CSO volume. Also, high doses of chlorine may pose health and environmental risks that need to be studied carefully.
- Many of the plans propose a very limited amount of Green Infrastructure, which can capture and filter stormwater runoff before it reaches local sewers and waterways, thereby reducing sewer overflows. DEP has not yet assessed the full potential to deploy green infrastructure in each watershed.
- Although DEP has made improvements to its public engagement process in recent years, there have still been many instances where public meetings were not well-advertised, and where complex technical information was not presented in a way the average citizen can understand. Good plans need to account for the concerns of well-informed local communities; this requires better public engagement by DEP.
As of December 28, 2015, we have requested a meeting with DEP to review our concerns and have distributed our key concerns to elected officials and stakeholders citywide in the hopes that we can all work together to improve the health of waterways and neighborhoods for many generations to come.
We urge everyone to get informed about how these plans will impact your local waterways (read our Fact Sheet here), sign up to get DEP’s public notices for meetings in your neighborhood: click here and include your name and contact information in the body of the email, and be sure you attend the January 12th Citywide meeting to learn more about DEP’s proposed plans.
SWIM and our local community partners are contacting elected officials across the City to let them know we need their help and their voices at the table on January 12. Contact your local city council members to let them know you are concerned about the City’s CSO Long Term Control Plans. (You can find your local contact info for your elected officials here: http://www.mygovnyc.org/)
Please join us in this critical opportunity to impact the quality of life and our most vital resources for many generations to come!