PRESS RELEASE: Impaired Waterbodies in NY


August 7, 2018

Beaver Swamp Brook and NYC waterways belong on NY list
of impaired waterbodies, Save the Sound says


Mamaroneck, NY – On Friday, Save the Sound submitted its formal comments on the Draft 2018 New York State Section 303(d) List of Impaired/TMDL Waters to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The list designates waterbodies that are “impaired”—unsafe for swimming, fishing, and other uses—under the Clean Water Act so that Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) of pollutants can be assigned as goals for removing the water body from the impaired waters list.  Waters on the lists have elevated priorities for restoration funding to bring them into compliance with TMDLs and clean them up.


Save the Sound is requesting that Beaver Swamp Brook, Lower Waterbody, and Beaver Swamp Brook, Upper Waterbody and Tributaries, be added to the list.


“Over four years of testing by our water quality team have confirmed that these sections of Beaver Swamp Brook consistently have elevated levels of fecal bacteria,” said Bill Lucey, Long Island Soundkeeper. “The brook clearly needs more attention to help restore it to a condition where it’s safe to swim in and fish from, as the Clean Water Act requires.”


Specifically, Beaver Swamp brook has had recent bacteria levels ranging from 128 to 1,759 CFU/100ml which exceeds the EPA limits set forth in the Beach Act which are 33 – 35 CFU/100ml. “CFU” refers to “colony forming units” which is a measure of active bacteria in the water.  These limits are based on the number of people expected to get sick by using the contaminated water.


Save the Sound also joined Pace Environmental Law Clinic and other organizations in a separate joint comment letter. The organizations are objecting to the delisting of a large number of New York City waters impaired by untreated sewage and other pollutants from Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs).

“New York City has manifestly failed to explain how it would clean up these waterways to standards that will be acceptable for recreation,” said Chief Legal Director Roger Reynolds. “Given that, their efforts to delist them are plainly contrary to law and a threat to public health.”



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