The Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership in cooperation with Riverkeeper prepared comments on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol. The comments from municipalities and other stakeholders along the lower Esopus were compiled into a letter and submitted to the DEC. The letter calls for a deadline by which time the interim protocol would be replaced by a SPDES permit. Limits on turbidity are also recommended. The letter is available here for download as a PDF.
LowerEsopusStakeholderCommentsInterimAshokanReleaseProtocol 12-15-11.pdf (108.9 KiB, 1,125 hits)
Comments to DEC by lower Esopus stakeholders on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
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.
The Ashokan Release Channel was increased today from 0 to approximately 300 MGD. The increases were made in approximately 20 and 40 MGD increments starting at 9:00AM and completed at 3:00PM on 12/09/11.
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.
In October, the DEC and DEP agreed upon an Interim Ashokan Reservoir Release Protocol (Protocol), which is available here for download.
Interim Release Protocol (135.8 KiB, 949 hits)
DEC/DEP Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
Water Quality Monitoring for Releases (68.7 KiB, 857 hits)
Water Quality Monitoring Plan for Release Channel Operations
The Lower Esopus Watershed Partnership, as part of the Ashokan Release Working Group, is compiling comments on the protocol from participating municipalities to provide DEC and DEP with feedback.
The protocol includes provisions for community beneficial releases, flood mitigation releases, and turbidity control releases. The interim protocol is driving recent reservoir releases as the DEP aims for a 90% Conditional Seasonal Storage Objective outlined in the protocol to create a void in the reservoir for flood mitigation and turbidity control. Since storms Irene and Lee filled the reservoir with turbid runoff, recent releases in the lower Esopus Creek have been noticeably turbid with fine colloidal clay sediment.
The Ashokan Waste Channel was decreased today from 40 million gallons per day to approximately 0 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately 20 MGD increments starting at 8:00AM and completed at 9:00AM.
The Ashokan Waste Channel was decreased today from 200 million gallons per day to approximately 40 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately 20 MGD increments starting at 8:00AM and completed at 3:00PM.
The Ashokan Waste Channel release rate was decreased today, Wednesday, April 6, from 600 million gallons per day to approximately 200 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately 60 MGD increments starting at 8:00AM to 11:00AM. Decreases were then made in approximately 40 MGD increments from 12:00PM to 3:00PM.