DEP offers Bronx River CSO Plan, August 2009

September 5th, 2009 Posted in Bronx River, Front Page News, UnBLOGlievable!, Water Committee

All of a sudden, after two years of waitin, the Public meeting was called for  August 19.  We get one month to comment.  Send in comments on or before September 18, 2009 to

Sue McCormick, P.E.


625 Broadway

Albany, NY  12233-3506

Here are my notes:

There seems to be very little substantial change in the finished Bronx River Watershed Water Facility Plan (Bronx River WWFP, July 2009). There is mention of the Low Impact Development (LID), but only as a model in need of study, and besides which, there is no land to do this work!. There is mention of Westchester County Improvements, but like the LID, it is also anticipated in the later years of the Long Term Control Plan. There is mention of the shift from the Water Quality Standard of boat and fishable to the LTCP Clean Water Act goal of fishable-swimable. While the upgrade of the Hunts Point WWTP made the biggest difference, it is not new. What is new is the Floatables project for some $26 to 39 million. They could do much better with half going to street cleaning in the watershed!

It is simply incredible that the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) stated that they did not have enough time or money to pilot study, and could not find enough land to absorb stormwater runoff and build LIDs or Green Infrastructure! While it is true that the DEP does not own that much land in this watershed, there are other agencies. Moreover, we have asked them over and over again to expand the responsibility for this consent decree to other agencies, but that has not happened.

In the first two decades of the last century, New York City paid for 75% of the construction costs for the Westchester part of the Bronx River Parkway and Road, and 100% of the city land and roadway. A review of the history of the Bronx River Parkway and Roadway clearly shows that the purpose of the Parkway Project was to clean up the noxious health hazard of the Bronx River, both in the Bronx and Westchester.

This report is deficient. It is no wonder it was denied as a legitimate project for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act! Just as the Bronx River Parkway was the first organized parkway commission, with a little leadership and responsibility, it could have been a great national example once again!

What we need is
1. LID and the Westchester Plan to be written into the Long Term Control Plan for the long term.
2. Another baseline method to assess the health of the River, which takes into consideration the pollutants absorbed by the actions in the LID and Westchester part of the plan. You could call this a TMDL.
3. Some editorial corrections on the existing document – most of which involve stakeholder involvement. Real page numbers should be on the report, not just section and page. Public Meeting Time and Place was inappropriate for summer. Clearly the DEP does not know, nor is it interested in promoting stakeholder involvement as groups are mis-identified on page 6-5.  BCEQ is not a governmental agency!

Although that would be fun ……………….

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