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Upcoming Public Forum with County Exec and DEP

On Monday, January 23, 2012, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein will host a public forum with New York City Department of Environmental Protection about area concerns including turbid releases into Esopus Creek. The County Executive will be joined by other upstate leaders, NYC DEP representatives and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation senior staff. The event will offer attendees the opportunity to have their voices heard and to ask important questions. The forum is scheduled for 6:00PM on January the 23rd at the John Quimby Theater at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge.

LEWP comments on interim protocol

The Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership in cooperation with Riverkeeper prepared comments on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol. The comments from municipalities and other stakeholders along the lower Esopus were compiled into a letter and submitted to the DEC. The letter calls for a deadline by which time the interim protocol would be replaced by a SPDES permit. Limits on turbidity are also recommended. The letter is available here for download as a PDF.

  LowerEsopusStakeholderCommentsInterimAshokanReleaseProtocol 12-15-11.pdf (108.9 KiB, 1,673 hits)
Comments to DEC by lower Esopus stakeholders on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol

Ulster County and Riverkeeper petition DEC

Ulster County and Riverkeeper submitted a formal petition to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concerning the releases from New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir. The petition calls upon DEC to meet its regulatory obligations and uphold water quality standards in the lower Esopus Creek. The DEC is criticized for relying on the Interim Protocol to authorize releases instead of using the SPDES permit program. In October, DEC issued an Interim Ashokan Release Protocol to govern discharges from the Ashokan Release Channel. Unlike a SPDES permit, the interim protocol did not contain any formal provisions for environmental review or public comment. The petition from UC and Riverkeeper reminds DEC of requirements spelled out in state Reservoir Release Regulations.

Read more…

Release Channel closed

The Ashokan Release Channel was shut down at 1:30AM today from 600 MGD to 0 MGD. This was due to Mt. Marion reaching action level. The protocol for the release channel stipulates that the channel be closed whenever the Mt. Marion gauge reaches 17-feet to prevent reservoir releases from adding to flooding threats. Levels on the Esopus Creek at Mt. Marion rose overnight due to rainfall runoff.

DEP balks on December public forum

Yesterday, DEP stated through a spokesperson that it cannot make a public forum before year’s end, reported Adam Bosch of the Times Herald-Record. On Thursday, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein emerged from a meeting with the DEP and announced the prospect of a public forum in December to address ongoing issues with DEP operations in Ulster County. DEP said it did not agree to the abrupt timeline for the forum but is nevertheless willing to participate in a public forum. Read more…

Storage objective eludes DEP

DEP was close to achieving the 90% storage objective last week before recent rains delayed achieving the objective. At 90.1% before recent rainfall, the Ashokan Reservoir was at 92.1% today. Once the storage objective is achieved, the DEP will adjust the release flow rate to sustain that objective, which will depend on inflow into the reservoir, snowpack snow water equivalent and the diversion to the Catskill Aqueduct. DEP is still releasing 600 MGD into the lower Esopus Creek, diverting 300 MGD into the Catskill Aquaduct, and treating the Catskill water with Alum at the Kensico Reservoir. The latest water quality report measured the turbidity level from the release channel at 120 NTUs. Turbidity was 130 to 140 NTUs throughout the reservoir’s West Basin and 33 NTUs in the East Basin. At Saugerties Beach, turbidity was 110 NTUs. Upstream of the reservoir, the Esopus Creek was 15 NTUs.