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NY State DEC Proposes Removing 20 NYC Waterways from important Impaired Waters List. Public Opposes.

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

The Federal Clean Water Act requires states to compile periodically (every two years) a list of impaired waters that do not meet federal water quality standards, where designated uses are not fully supported, and where a Total Maximum Daily Load (TDML) plan is necessary in order to address the impairments. As part of their impaired waters list update, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) released an environmental report in early July proposing the removal of 20 impaired NYC waterways in Staten Island, Brooklyn, Bronx and Queens from the list! .

Removing the waterways from the impaired list would cause them to lose important protections. It is important that NewYorkers oppose these delistings and keep pressure on the City and State agencies to bring NYC’s waters into compliance with water quality standards!

Here is a link to SWIM's August 6th comment letter to the State.

Below is a list of the waterways that would lose protection if removed the impaired waters list. Here is a link to see the all the public comment letters that Waterway Stakeholders around the City sent to DEC asking them not to de-list their waterway. Kudos to all the Citizens who stood up for their waterway!

The following waterway impairments would be wrongly delisted and lose important protections:


  • Coney Island Creek (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • East River, Lower (Floatables)

  • Gowanus Canal (Floatables & Odors)

  • Mill Basin and Tidal Tributaries (Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • Newtown Creek and Tidal Tributaries (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)


  • Bronx River, Lower (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • Bronx River, Middle and Tributaries (Pathogens, Floatables)

  • Bronx River, Upper and Tributaries (Floatables)

  • Harlem River (Floatables)

  • Hutchinson River, Lower and Tributaries (Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables & Odors)

  • Westchester Creek (Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)


  • Alley Creek and Little Neck Bay Tributary (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand)

  • Bergen Basin (Pathogens, Nitrogen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • East River, Upper (Floatables)

  • Flushing Creek and Flushing Bay (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • Hendrix Creek (Pathogens, Nitrogen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables & Odors)

  • Jamaica Bay, Eastern and Tributaries (Pathogens, Nitrogen, Oxygen Demand)

  • Paerdegat Basin (Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables & Odors)

  • Shellbank Basin (Nitrogen, Oxygen Demand)

  • Spring Creek (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • Thurston Basin (Pathogens, Dissolved Oxygen, Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

Staten Island

  • Arthur Kill (Oxygen Demand, Floatables)

  • Kill Van Kull (Floatables)

  • Newark Bay (Floatables)

The State will review public comments over the summer and issue their final proposal in October 2018

Here are the instructions for public comment letters:

Public comments on the list will be accepted through August 6th, 2018.

Help protect our local waters by demanding they remain listed as impaired until their pollution problems are fully resolved.

Be sure to provide all available documentation related to water quality, including any sampling data, pictures, video, and firsthand narrative descriptions of conditions in your waterways and their impact on your use and enjoyment of the waters. Public comments should be mailed to Sarah Rickard, NYS DEC - Division of Water, Bureau of Watershed Assessment and Management, 625 Broadway, 4th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-3502, or emailed to Email a copy of your comment letter to so we can post it on the SWIM website along with all the other comment letters and testimonies we house in our library.

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