New York State Department of Health Releases 2017 Filtration Avoidance Determination for the New York City Water Supply

Determination Outlines the Requirements New York City Must Follow to Avoid Filtering its Drinking 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

ALBANY, NY (December 28, 2017) - The New York State Department of Health today released the 2017 New York City Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD). The 10-year FAD sets forth the requirements that New York City must follow to continue to avoid filtering the Catskill/Delaware drinking water supply, and to safeguard the drinking water for more than 9.5 million New Yorkers. New York City is one of only five large cities in the nation with a surface water system that does not require filtration.

New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "Protecting clean drinking water for all New York residents is a priority of Governor Cuomo's administration. The 2017 New York City Filtration Avoidance Determination endeavors to safeguard public health and provide access to safe drinking water for the residents of New York City and other upstate communities reliant upon this water, while promoting good watershed stewardship practices through comprehensive, locally-implemented programs. I thank our federal, state and city partners in this effort and the stakeholders who contributed to its development."

EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez said, "EPA looks forward to continuing its work with state partners, New York City and watershed stakeholders to ensure that implementation of the 2017 FAD protects public heath while balancing community interests. The 2017 FAD makes great strides towards improving that balance. We support continued collaboration as an active, engaged partner to respond to the important concerns of those living and working within our watershed communities as we maintain New York City's high quality drinking water."

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, while maintaining focus on the importance of New York City's drinking water supply to public health protection.

On July 21, 2017, the draft 2017 FAD was released for a 45-day public comment period. In addition to today's release of the 2017 FAD, the State Health Department is also releasing responses to the comments received. Please view the 2017 FAD and response to public comments, here:

The 2017 FAD will include a mid-term review, and 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 Acquisition 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 (NASEM).

New York City's compliance with the 2017 FAD will be reviewed by NYSDOH in 2021, and a compliance assessment report will be issued by July 31, 2021. Any revisions to the City's Long-Term Watershed Protection Plan will be incorporated into a draft Revised 2017 FAD, which will be made available for a 45-day public comment period. A final Revised 2017 FAD is scheduled to be issued in July 2022.

For information about the current FAD, please visit:

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