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 decreased today from 300 MGD to approximately 200 MGD. The decreases were made in approximately two 40 MGD increments and one 20 MGD increment starting at 3:30OPM and completed at 4:30PM.
The Ashokan Release Channel was decreased today from 600 MGD to approximately 300 MGD. The decrease’s were made in approximately 40 MG increments every 30 minutes, starting at 12:15PM and completed at 3:15PM.
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.
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, 1,057 hits)
Comments to DEC by lower Esopus stakeholders on the Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
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, 902 hits)
DEC/DEP Interim Ashokan Release Protocol
Water Quality Monitoring for Releases (68.7 KiB, 821 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.