Environmental Infrastructure Programs

FAD Section 3.1 - Septic and Sewer Programs

2007 FAD Requirements

The identification and remediation of septic systems that have failed, or are likely to fail, is important for a number of reasons. First, an improperly working septic system does not protect against environmental exposure to pathogenic microorganisms and viruses that are present in sewage. This is not only a danger to the NYC water supply, but also to local residents who can be exposed to human waste. Second, a poorly functioning septic system can release nitrogen and phosphorus to waterways. These nutrients can lead to excessive growth of algae, which can be detrimental to water supplies and overall water quality.

The 2007 FAD requires the City to implement a Septic and Sewer Program aimed at preventing the potential impacts of improperly functioning septic systems. The City's overall septic and sewer effort is divided into five separate programs: Septic Remediation and Replacement Program, Septic Maintenance Program, Sewer Extension Program, New Sewage Treatment Infrastructure Program, and Community Wastewater Management Program. The latter two programs (New Sewage Treatment Infrastructure Program, and Community Wastewater Management Program) each have their own FAD sections, 3.2 and 3.3, respectively.

The City has worked closely with the Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC) to implement this program WOH, as well as to implement the New York City Watershed Rules and Regulations (in effect since May 1, 1997 and revised April 4, 2010).

Evaluation of the NYC Water System's Performance

The City has largely been successful in dealing with ongoing elements and new initiatives in the Septic Remediation and Replacement Program. This program was initially designed to provide inspection, pump-outs, and, where necessary, repair or replacement of systems for single or two family residences in the WOH watershed that are failing or likely to fail. Separate septic programs are being implemented EOH partnering with county health departments. Details of these programs are provided in the Kensico and EOH sections of the 2007 FAD. This WOH program has been implemented since 1997 to prioritize addressing those septic systems most likely to impact the City's water supply (i.e. those closest to intakes and water courses), and the priority areas have expanded to a wider area over time. This ongoing part of this program is meeting its goals with 335 systems being remediated in 2010, and 3,562 systems overall since 1997. Furthermore, there is adequate funding for the program for the second five years of the 2007 FAD. The City was also successful in working with CWC to continue the hardship component of the Septic Remediation and Replacement Program for critical septic system remediations/replacements in non-priority areas under the January 2001 program rules. The CWC also started a program in 2009 that pays up to 75% of the cost of septic system remediations, with a cap of $40,000 per system, for small businesses (< 100 employees) within 100 feet of a waterway.

The 2007 FAD required the City to develop program rules and provide funding for repairing or creating new cluster systems. Cluster System Program rules were accepted by CWC and the City in April 2011. To date, no new cluster systems have been created in the watershed.

The Septic Maintenance Program has been effective during the first five years of the 2007 FAD. This is a voluntary program implemented by the CWC where residents are reimbursed 50% of the pump-out costs for participants in the septic repair program and systems constructed after 1997. This program also provides educational information to homeowners on septic use and the role of regular maintenance in avoiding expensive system failures and dangerous sewage releases.

The Sewer Extension Program was developed to extend lines to collect sewage in areas with failing septic systems. To date a number of deadlines have been missed, but work seems to be progressing in a reasonable manner for all outstanding projects. The projects in Neversink and Roxbury were completed in 2009 and 2010, respectively. As of the last semi-annual report, the projects in Shandaken and Hunter are near the 100% design, the towns continue to work on New Sewer Use Laws and on gaining the remaining easements, and the City is preparing bid documents (in Shandaken only). For the project in Margaretville, the 30% design plans are being reviewed, SEQR is underway, and the alignment of the extension is being considered.

NYSDOH and EPA believe that the Septic and Sewer Programs are an important and successful component of the City's watershed protection program, protecting the City's water supply from potential contamination from sewage inputs.

FAD Section 3.2 - New Sewage Treatment Infrastructure Program

2007 FAD Requirements

The goal of the New Sewage Treatment Infrastructure Program (NIP) is to protect water quality from contamination associated with failing and likely-to-fail septic systems constructed in small communities in the watershed and located in close proximity to a water course. The first seven of the 22 community projects listed in the 1997 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) were required to meet certain milestones specified in Section 3.2 of the 2007 FAD. The City implements NIP in accordance with the City's December 2006 Long-Term Watershed Protection Program (Section 2.2.2) with the following clarifications specified in the 2007 FAD:

  • The City will execute contract changes with New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) and CWC that include funding levels sufficient to complete projects in Phoenicia and Hubbell Corners. Projects currently under construction at Fleischmanns and Prattsville shall be completed in accordance with their existing contracts;
  • The City will provide approval of functional completion and authorization to begin start up and performance testing (to be followed by building/house sewer lateral installation along the sewer mains within the sewer district) within 45 days of the engineer's submittal of Functional Completion Certification;
  • The City will work with communities to ensure milestones are met and will review and provide regulatory or document approval in a timely manner.

Evaluation of the NYC Water System's Performance

This voluntary program effectively protects water quality from the potential threat posed by failing and likely-to-fail septic systems. As of March 2011, the City has provided a total of $104 million in NIP funding. New wastewater projects have been functionally completed in six of the seven communities: Andes, Roxbury, Hunter, Windham, Fleischmanns, and Prattsville. In addition, the City executed a Change Order in 2007 to NIP in the amount of $1,500,000 to allow for the design and construction of a sewage collection system for the Hubbell Corners Supplemental Service Area (Roxbury NIP project). This project was completed in 2010.

All NIP requirements set forth in the 2007 FAD have been met. Due to circumstances beyond the City's control, construction of the Phoenicia project has been delayed. The City has granted a number of time extensions to the Town of Shandaken in support of their efforts to implement a wastewater project in Phoenicia. The Town of Shandaken executed a contract with CWC in September 2010 to manage the project and has begun the design review phase of the project. The contract specifies a 1-year review phase, followed by a 1-year design phase, a 6-month bid phase, and a 2-year construction phase. The City continues to work collaboratively with the community to ensure that NIP implementation is successful.

NYSDOH and EPA believe that NIP remains an important component of drinking water quality and public health protection, which are essential elements of the FAD.

FAD Section 3.3 - Community Wastewater Management Program

2007 FAD Requirements

The Community Wastewater Management Program provides funding for the design and construction of community septic systems, including related sewerage collection systems, and/or the creation of septic maintenance districts, including septic system replacement, rehabilitation and upgrades as well as operation and maintenance of the district. A number of communities are included under this program. In the 2002 FAD, a total of five communities were added to the program. These communities include Bloomville, Boiceville, Hamden, DeLancey, and Bovina. Ashland was added to the program in 2006. The first five-year period of the 2007 FAD provided funding for Trout Creek, Lexington, and South Kortright.

Evaluation of the NYC Water System's Performance

This program has deadlines that extend beyond the ending date of the 2007 FAD where communities have been added to the program. Wastewater management systems for all five communities from the 2002 FAD and Ashland have now been completed. The City has approved the recommended projects and funding for Trout Creek, Lexington, and South Kortright.

The Community Wastewater Management Program has been an effective tool for protecting the watershed from the potential for contamination from failing septic systems in relatively densely populated areas. NYSDOH and EPA support the continuation of this program to complete projects in Trout Creek, Lexington, and South Kortright, and to begin wastewater management projects for the next five communities listed in the 1997 MOA (Shandaken, West Conesville, Claryville, Halcottsville, and New Kingston).

FAD Section 3.4 - Wastewater Treatment Plant Upgrade Program

2007 FAD Requirements

In accordance with the NYC Watershed Rules and Regulations (WR&Rs), all surface water discharging wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) in the watershed must include advanced tertiary treatment (microfiltration or approved equivalent), disinfection, and phosphorus removal treatment. In addition, subsurface discharging WWTPs must install sand filtration (or approved alternative), phosphorus removal, and disinfection, where applicable. The 2007 FAD requires that upgrades be completed at all remaining WWTPs in the watershed that do not meet the requirements of the WR&Rs, or that such WWTPs be decommissioned and connected to approved WWTPs.

Evaluation of the NYC Water System's Performance

Functional completion has been achieved for all WWTPs in the WOH and EOH Catskill/Delaware watersheds that required upgrades. Achievement of this FAD goal is a significant and critical component of the City's watershed protection plan. The City's ongoing support for proper operation and maintenance of these WWTPs will ensure the success of this protection measure.

FAD Section 3.5 - Stormwater Programs

2007 FAD Requirements

The 2007 FAD requires the City to implement the Stormwater Programs as described in its 2006 Long-Term Watershed Protection Program, and meet several other activity and reporting requirements for these programs. The Stormwater Programs are comprised of the Stormwater Retrofit Program, the Future Stormwater Controls Program, and the Local Technical Assistance Program. The Retrofit Program, administered by the CWC and the City, provides grants to implement BMPs and improve water quality for pre-1997 stormwater structures. The Future Stormwater Controls Program, administered by CWC, funds the incremental costs required by the City's WR&Rs, which are in addition to federal and State requirements. The Local Technical Assistance Program, administered by the CWC and the City, provides grants to support watershed protection and enhance quality of life in watershed communities. In addition, the City was required to fund an engineering position to assist applicants in complying with the City's WR&Rs.

Evaluation of the NYC Water System's Performance

The City has funded over $3.6 million in incremental costs for stormwater controls required by the NYC WR&Rs. Thirty-four (34) stormwater retrofit applications were funded and completed for a total of approximately $7.5 million. The funding has covered needs such as street sweepers, vacuum trucks, culvert replacements, and catch basins. Twelve (12) stormwater retrofit assessment and planning projects have been funded for a total of $400,000. Twenty-nine (29) Local Technical Assistance projects were approved since 2007 for a total of $1.5 million. These projects included generic environmental impact statements, land use plans, and zoning law updates. The CWC engineering position was funded for the first five-year period.

NYSDOH and EPA believe that the Stormwater Programs have been effective, and are an important part of the City's watershed protection program.