New York State Health Department Releases Draft Filtration Avoidance Determination for the New York City Water Supply

Determination Outlines the Requirements New York City Must Follow to Avoid Filtering Water from the Catskill/Delaware Watersheds

New and Strengthened Protections Will Continue to Ensure Safe Drinking Water for More Than 9.5 Million New Yorkers

45 Day Public Comment Period Now Open

ALBANY, NY. (July 21, 2017) -- The New York State Department of Health today released the draft New York City Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) for public comment. The FAD sets forth the requirements that New York City must follow to continue to avoid filtering its Catskill/Delaware water supply and to ensure safe drinking water for more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. In anticipation of the final FAD being issued this year, a draft has been released for a 45-day public comment period, ending September 5, 2017.

The State Health Department and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection have worked together for over a year to develop the requirements of the 2017 FAD, in consultation with both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. The 2017 FAD has also been shaped by input from watershed stakeholders, reflecting ongoing collaborative efforts to balance the sustainability of watershed communities with the protection of New York City's drinking water supply. New York City is one of only five large cities in the nationwith asurface water system that does not require filtration.

The 2017 FAD contains several new watershed protection elements, including:

  • expanding the Small Business Septic System Program in the west-of-Hudson watershed;
  • expediting the design and construction of a new community wastewater treatment facility for the Hamlet of Shokan;
  • implementing agricultural best management practices that have been identified on watershed farms;
  • protecting streamside lands through use of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program and the Streamside Assistance Program;
  • funding engineering studies to address areas of poorly functioning septic systems in reservoir basins in the east-of-Hudson watershed; and
  • Co-locating watershed protection staff with the Catskill Watershed Corporation in a new office located inside the New York City Watershed.

Additionally, existing watershed protection programs have been reinforced in the 2017 FAD, including:

  • acquisition and management of watershed lands that provide water quality protection;
  • mitigation of flooding in watershed communities to protect water quality;
  • stream restoration and management to stabilize eroding streambanks; and
  • reviews of watershed protection programs and Catskill turbidity control tools by experts convened by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine.

The draft of the 2017 FAD is available at or by calling NYSDOH at 518-402-7650.

Comments will be accepted until September 5, 2017, and may be submitted via email to

Written comments can also be mailed to:

NYC Watershed Section
Bureau of Water Supply Protection
NYS Department of Health
Corning Tower Rm. 1110
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12237

For information about the current FAD, please visit:

For background information on NYC's FAD, please visit: