Background and Purpose

In a December 2006 the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) submitted a plan for the long-term protection of the watershed for New York City's (City) Catskill/Delaware water supply. Implementation of the plan, which was entitled New York City Department of Environmental Protection 2006 Long-Term Watershed Protection Program ("2006 Long-Term Plan"), would ensure effective watershed protection and compliance with filtration avoidance criteria for the Catskill/Delaware water supply. In July 2007, upon completion of review of the plan and in consultation with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) concluded that the City's plan would provide adequate watershed protection and consequently issued the 2007 Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD). The 2007 FAD requires the City to implement the watershed protection plan outlined in its 2006 Long-Term Plan and includes certain additional requirements and clarifications. As a result, the City's commitments and obligations are defined by both the City's 2006 Long-Term Plan and the 2007 FAD.

The 2007 FAD requires the City to support a Land Acquisition Program for a ten-year period. The FAD also defines the requirements and milestones for a number of other watershed protection programs for the first five-year period of the FAD. The 2007 FAD describes that at the end of the first five-year period, with the primacy agency taking the lead, EPA and NYSDOH will conduct a review of the City's implementation of its 2006 Long-Term Plan and compliance with the requirements of the FAD. In September 2007, EPA granted NYSDOH primary regulatory responsibility for the Surface Water Treatment Rule as it applies to the Catskill/Delaware water supply, making NYSDOH the primacy agency for oversight of NYC's FAD. As such, this report has been prepared by NYSDOH, in consultation with EPA, as a summary of the findings of this compliance review.

This review, along with a number of other elements, will form the basis for a mid-term revision of the 2007 FAD. The FAD states that prior to the commencement of the second five-year period, EPA, NYSDOH, and the City will work together to develop the activities and milestones for the programs, other than the Land Acquisition Program, that the City will be required to undertake in the second five-year period. Programs from the first five-year period may be continued into the second fiveyear period, or programs may be revised, discontinued or replaced. By December 15, 2011, the City will submit to NYSDOH and EPA its 2011 Revised Long-Term Watershed Protection Program, documenting the City's proposed commitments for the second five-year period. NYSDOH, in consultation with EPA, will then revise the 2007 FAD, formalizing the requirements for the City's watershed protection programs for the second five-year period of the FAD. In addition to this compliance review, other key components of the overall FAD revision process include:

  • 2011 Watershed Protection Program Summary and Assessment (March 2011) report by the City;
  • Outreach to Watershed Stakeholders: EPA, NYSDOH and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) have met with various watershed stakeholders over the past few months to gather input for development of FAD program requirements;
  • Public Information Sessions in June and July of 2011, held in Delhi, Belleayre, Somers, and New York City; and
  • Public Comment Period early 2012 to solicit comment on draft mid-term revisions of the 2007 FAD.

Although steps are being taken to develop a 2007 FAD revision, at any time the primacy agency may make a determination that the City no longer provides adequate protection of its Catskill/Delaware water supply and may require the City to filter that supply.

The remainder of this evaluation will address the City's progress in implementing major programs under the 2007 FAD, as well as certain regulatory compliance requirements.