On Tuesday, February 1st, water releases through the Ashokan Waste Channel were decreased from 140 MGD to approximately 0 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately 20 MGD increments starting at 9:00AM and completed at 4:15PM.
See the Mount Marion Stream Gage for changes to stream flow and height downstream of the Ashokan Reservoir.
Ulster County Executive Mike Hein is calling on NYC DEP to use another firm to study the turbidity impacts on Esopus Creek instead of the engineering company it has contracted in the past. More in the Daily Freeman.
Ice on the creek that has formed over a high volume flow might be going through some adjustments when lower flows begin.
Beginning at 1pm on Friday January 28, 2011, the high-volume flows from the Ashokan Release Channel switched from the turbid West Basin to begin releasing cleaner water from the East Basin. This will continue for three days to help flush out turbidity from the Lower Esopus Creek, after which lower flows are expected. As water levels drop, the creek ice is expected to readjust, which may cause cracking and ice instability.
The clear water flush of the creek is a short term solution, but it is a first step to having clean water releases for stream health. This will need to be followed up with monitoring to understanding the harm done to the Lower Esopus Creek and downstream communities by the prolonged, high-concentration turbid water releases from the West Basin of the Ashokan Reservoir.
See NYC DEP press release: Statement from NYC Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway On End of Turbid Water Releases from the Ashokan Reservoir.
After dumping high-volumes of turbid water into the Lower Esopus Creek for over one hundred days, NYC DEP finally announced that it stopped dumping and started releasing clean water. Read more in the Daily Freeman
Ulster County Executive Michael Hein’s office released an Issue Brief which outlines the County Executive’s position on NYC DEP’s pollution of the Lower Esopus. The Brief provides a helpful summary of the turbidity issue and a course of action to correct the issue. In the Brief, the County Exec insists that the NYC DEP must:
Stop releases immediately.
Develop clear water flood mitigation strategies.
Rescind all decisions that led to the strategy of sending polluted water down the Esopus.
Conduct studies involving all parties and consider all alternatives.
Institute low-flow releases in accordance with New York State law.
Download entire Issue Brief here:
UC Esopus Brief.pdf (650.8 KiB, 642 hits)
Issue Brief from Ulster County Executive Hein on the NYC DEP Pollution of the Lower Esopus
At the working group meeting on January 14, the NYC DEP announced that it will shut of the discharges of turbid water from the Ashokan Reservoir in 30 days. If they meet the deadline they’ve set for themselves, the Esopus Creek should start to return to its normal color and clarity in mid-February. More news on this announcement in the Daily Freeman.