NY Dept. of Environmental Conservation's Proposed Changes to State Water Quality Standards Cause Concern Amongst NYC Waterway Advocates

June 5, 2018

On March 21, 2018, NYS DEC proposed several changes to state water quality standards that affect waters in NYC.  While we are currently analyzing the proposal, SWIM Coalition and waterway stakeholders around the City are very concerned that the proposal creates new loopholes in existing standards, and falls far short of the new, stronger standards that EPA requires for all waters across NYC. 

Attention Waterway Stakeholders! DEC will host a public hearing on June 7th at 2 p.m. at their offices in Long Island City and will accept written comments until midnight on June 12. Please mark your calendars and plan to attend the hearing. Details on the proposal, the public hearing, and the public comment period are on DEC’s website here.  


Click here to send an automatic message to DEC right now letting them know that they need to do better!

DEC's proposed changes include (but are not limited to) the following:


·       Adopting a watered-down enterococcus standard, and applying it only to some waters:  For certain “Class SA and SB” waters, the proposal would apply a new enterococcus standard, which is weaker than the federal enterococcus standard that EPA has determined is necessary protect human health.  Further, although EPA has said the state must apply the federal enterococcus standard for all water bodies, the proposal does not change the state’s reliance on outdated, unprotective fecal coliform standards for most NYC water bodies. 


·       New loopholes allowing violations from November - April every year:  For all water bodies, the proposal would create a major new exception to water quality standards, by requiring compliance with pathogen standards only during the “primary contact recreation season” (which is defined as May 1 to Oct 31, or “as determined by [DEC] on a case-specific basis”).


DEC’s proposal, along with supporting materials and details on the public hearing, and public comment period are on DEC’s website here. Click here to send an automatic message to DEC letting them know that they need to do better!



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SWIM Coalition is sponsored by the NYC Soil & Water Conservation District and Riverkeeper, Inc. Your donations to SWIM's work are tax deductible under the IRS code170(c)3. 

Donations to SWIM are managed by Riverkeeper, Inc.