NYCDEP Bureau of Water Supply will be increasing the release of water from the Ashokan Reservoir through the Release Channel Saturday December 1st. This increased release has been coordinated with NYSDEC and will not exceed 600 MGD and will last for 3 weeks. The purpose of the increased diversion is to temporarily stop the Schoharie Reservoir from spilling in order to complete the construction of at least one of the two new temporary siphons at Gilboa Dam.
The current release channel turbidity is 9.20 ntu. Releases are scheduled to ramp up in 40 MDG increments hourly, reaching 530 MGD by 4:30PM today.
Turbid releases from Ashokan Reservoir have made headlines in Ulster County for the past year-and-a-half since the NYC Department of Environmental Protection reopened the release channel into the Lower Esopus Creek. Now, the dumping of turbid water has garnered attention in New York City, the beneficiary of the turbid releases in the form of clean drinking water. Writing for the New York Times, Mireya Navarro focuses on how the turbid releases exacerbate the century-old upstate-downstate tensions over the city’s water supply. She writes that long-standing disputes over DEP’s operations in Ulster County have reached a “tipping point.” Read the full article: Muddying of Beloved Creek Is Last Straw for Neighbors of a City Reservoir. Navarro also posted a blog entry about the issue at the NYTimes.com Green Blog: Upstate vs. Downstate: A Slow Boil Over Water Issues.
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased today from 80 to approximately 120 MGD. The increase was made in one 40 MGD increment at 2:35 PM. The increases were made in response to additional snowpack in the Ashokan watershed and to offset a decrease in the diversion from the reservoir into the Catskill Aqueduct. The increased releases will help maintain the void in the reservoir for flood mitigation according to the Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective outlined in the Interim Protocol. Turbidity levels for the releases are currently less than 30 NTUs.
The Ashokan Release Channel was decreased today from 600 MGD (Million Gallons per Day) to approximately 300 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately 40 MGD increments starting at 11:30AM and completed at 3:00PM.
After months of high volume releases, the Ashokan Reservoir finally reached the Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective of 90% capacity, which allows for a 10% void for flood mitigation.
On Monday, January 23, 2012, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein will host a public forum with New York City Department of Environmental Protection about area concerns including turbid releases into Esopus Creek. The County Executive will be joined by other upstate leaders, NYC DEP representatives and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation senior staff. The event will offer attendees the opportunity to have their voices heard and to ask important questions. The forum is scheduled for 6:00PM on January the 23rd at the John Quimby Theater at Ulster County Community College in Stone Ridge.
Ulster County and Riverkeeper submitted a formal petition to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concerning the releases from New York City’s Ashokan Reservoir. The petition calls upon DEC to meet its regulatory obligations and uphold water quality standards in the lower Esopus Creek. The DEC is criticized for relying on the Interim Protocol to authorize releases instead of using the SPDES permit program. In October, DEC issued an Interim Ashokan Release Protocol to govern discharges from the Ashokan Release Channel. Unlike a SPDES permit, the interim protocol did not contain any formal provisions for environmental review or public comment. The petition from UC and Riverkeeper reminds DEC of requirements spelled out in state Reservoir Release Regulations.
Yesterday, DEP stated through a spokesperson that it cannot make a public forum before year’s end, reported Adam Bosch of the Times Herald-Record. On Thursday, Ulster County Executive Mike Hein emerged from a meeting with the DEP and announced the prospect of a public forum in December to address ongoing issues with DEP operations in Ulster County. DEP said it did not agree to the abrupt timeline for the forum but is nevertheless willing to participate in a public forum. Read more…
DEP was close to achieving the 90% storage objective last week before recent rains delayed achieving the objective. At 90.1% before recent rainfall, the Ashokan Reservoir was at 92.1% today. Once the storage objective is achieved, the DEP will adjust the release flow rate to sustain that objective, which will depend on inflow into the reservoir, snowpack snow water equivalent and the diversion to the Catskill Aqueduct. DEP is still releasing 600 MGD into the lower Esopus Creek, diverting 300 MGD into the Catskill Aquaduct, and treating the Catskill water with Alum at the Kensico Reservoir. The latest water quality report measured the turbidity level from the release channel at 120 NTUs. Turbidity was 130 to 140 NTUs throughout the reservoir’s West Basin and 33 NTUs in the East Basin. At Saugerties Beach, turbidity was 110 NTUs. Upstream of the reservoir, the Esopus Creek was 15 NTUs.
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased today from 80 to approximately 600 MGD. The increases were made in approximately 40 MGD increments starting at 0900hrs and completed at 1600hrs.
1100hrs to 1600hrs steps were completed in 1/2hr increments.
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased today from 0 to approximately 80 MGD. The increases were made in approximately 20 MGD increments starting at 1400hrs and completed at 1700hrs.