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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy 3 Evolution of Key Environmental Laws, Regulations, and Policies The Watershed Rules and Regulations of the New York City Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) are among the most comprehensive and detailed regulations regarding watershed activities found in this country. However, they cannot be considered in isolation given the large number of federal, state, and local statutes and regulations with which New York City must comply. This chapter briefly describes the initial impetus for the creation of environmental regulations relating to drinking water, it outlines certain federal regulations that pertain to the New York City drinking water supply, and it describes how the MOA attempts to fill gaps between federal, state, and local environmental regulations. GLOBAL PUBLIC CONCERNS ABOUT DRINKING WATER SAFETY Although environmental regulations have not traditionally focused on the watershed as a management unit, this approach has become more common in the last ten years (NRC, 1999). Watershed approaches to water resource management require the integration of traditional water quality concerns (such as the safety of drinking water) with more general ecological and aesthetic concerns (such as the health of aquatic ecosystems). For watershed protection programs to succeed, a multitude of interests, stakeholders, and priorities must be considered, creating daunting and relatively new challenges for water supply managers and environmental regulators. Some stakeholders are most concerned with waterborne diseases, others with the chronic effects of chemicals used in water treatment, and others with ecological and aesthetic considerations. In addition to multiple stakeholder concerns, water supply managers and environmental regulators must also contend with increased public awareness
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy regarding water safety. The emergence of the media has had a powerful effect on public perceptions of environmental quality, including water quality. A 1993 nationwide study of consumer attitudes about water quality conducted by the American Water Works Association (AWWA, 1993) found that about 40 percent of all persons interviewed nationwide had ''seen or heard something [in the media] that made them worry about their local water quality," although fewer (26 percent) were aware of a local threat or incident. Although there have been few documented cases of contaminated water adversely affecting public health, the public's perception of water safety varies greatly. This variability is evident in Box 3-1, which describes the results of a survey conducted in New York City in which residents were questioned about their drinking water. Consumer confidence in the water supply is a complex issue that must be taken into consideration in making management decisions. The most prominent public concerns regarding drinking water quality and water supply systems are discussed below, followed by a description of the relevant environmental laws and regulations that have been developed to address these concerns. These regulations are not only relevant to public health and safety and to aesthetic improvements in water supply reservoirs, but they are also economically prudent for society over the long term. Waterborne Infectious Disease As with most other environmental issues, the greatest public concern regarding drinking water is that it can potentially endanger human health and safety (Freudenberg and Steinsapir, 1992; Szasz, 1994). Waterborne infectious diseases are the most recognized type of danger because numerous microbial agents transmitted by ingestion of contaminated water have the potential to cause acute or chronic illness. Disease outcomes associated with waterborne infections include mild to lifethreatening gastroenteritis, hepatitis, conjunctivitis, respiratory infections, and generalized infections. Most disease-causing microorganisms (pathogens) originate in the enteric tracts of humans or animals and enter water sources via fecal contamination from human or animal sources. However, there are some indigenous aquatic microorganisms that are also capable of causing disease under certain circumstances. Although most waterborne pathogens must infect and reproduce within a human host in order to be considered virulent, there are waterborne microorganisms that affect humans through the production of toxins. The outcomes of exposure to pathogenic organisms can be highly variable. Some waterborne pathogens will cause disease in healthy exposed persons, while others pose little or no threat to healthy adults but can pose a threat to children, the elderly, or anyone with a weakened immune system. The connection between drinking water quality and human health has been recognized since ancient times, as evidenced by the development of technologies
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy BOX 3-1 Public Perception of Drinking Water Safety in New York City This box discusses a recent study on public perception of drinking water quality in New York City and compares the results to trends observed nationwide. Public perception of drinking water safety is an important indicator of the success of public utilities, although it is not as objective as water quality monitoring data. Water suppliers and the public often have very different impressions of drinking water safety. For example, a nationwide study of multiple stakeholders concluded, "Most public officials, water utility managers, and environmentalists believe the greatest threat to the quality of drinking water today is problems with water quality at the source. But the public is just as likely to perceive that problems with [water] treatment methods pose the greatest threat" (AWWA, 1993). In addition, two-thirds of American adults believe that they receive very little or no information about water quality, while 151 water utility managers nationwide overestimated the amount of information the public perceives it is getting about the quality of its drinking water (AWWA, 1993). Survey of Water Consumers. Because New York City's water is unfiltered, it has garnered increased attention compared to other communities. In a recent consumer survey of 1,560 randomly selected City residents (Pfeffer and Stycos, 1996), respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement: "New York City has one of the safest and cleanest water supplies in the world." 54 percent of respondents agreed, while 46 percent disagreed. This indicator of confidence in the water supply reveals clear differences between City residents' perceptions of the overall quality of the water supply and the favorable compliance record of the NYC DEP (discussed in detail in Chapter 5). Reasons for Lacking Confidence in Tap Water. To help determine why a substantial proportion of New York City's population lacks confidence in the water supply, survey respondents were asked more specific questions about their perception of tap water quality, their satisfaction with federal drinking water standards, whether they drink bottled water and why, whether they have had problems with tap water in the past, and other issues. Results of the survey are given in Table 3-1.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy as poor, while 87.1 percent of those who are confident in the water supply rate the water as good or excellent. Differences in confidence in the water supply are also related to trust in the NYC DEP. Sixty (60) percent of those confident in the water supply give NYC DEP an overall job rating of good or excellent, while just one-third of those survey respondents who lack confidence in the water supply gave NYC DEP such high marks. Those who lack confidence are also much more likely to think that federal water quality standards are "not strict enough," whereas those confident in the system are more likely to think the guidelines are "about right." Differences in levels of confidence in the water supply are also reflected in water consumption. Those lacking confidence are twice as likely to drink bottled water only. Only 31 percent of all New Yorkers drink tap water exclusively (482 out of 1560), a rate that is significantly lower than the rates in other parts of the country (AWWA, 1993). About 30 percent of New Yorkers say they drink bottled water for the taste; however, more than half report that they drink it for health reasons (data not shown). The strongest predictor of confidence in the water supply were past problems with tap water taste, color, and clarity. Those New Yorkers who experienced problems with the taste of tap water were almost twice as likely to lack confidence in New York City water. Finally, differences in confidence in the water supply relate, to a lesser degree, to one's environmental awareness, income, education, sex, race, and place of residence. In general, the observed public perceptions of drinking water quality in New York City are typical of nationwide patterns reported by the AWWA (1993). TABLE 3-1 Selected Factors Related to Public Confidence in New York City's Water Supply Total number responding NYC's Water is Safe and Clean Percent Agree Percent Disagree All respondents 1,560 54.0 46.0 Perception of overall tap water quality: Poor 465 12.3 50.3 Good 853 62.0 46.0 Excellent 234 25.1 3.1 Trust in DEP-provided information: No Trust 183 9.0 14.9 Some Trust 1,167 75.6 73.9 Complete Trust 197 14.4 10.6
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Total number responding NYC's Water is Safe and Clean Percent Agree Percent Disagree Overall DEP job rating: Poor 153 4.9 15.6 Fair 608 31.7 47.6 Good 661 50.9 32.4 Excellent 90 9.5 1.4 Federal drinking water quality standards: Too strict 35 2.0 2.5 About right 601 50.4 24.5 Not strict enough 869 43.3 70.3 Water Consumption: Tap only 483 31.9 21.3 Bottled only 280 10.7 26.5 Tap and bottled 760 48.2 49.4 Problems with Tap Water Taste 723 36.8 63.2 Color/clarity 940 45.3 54.7 Were Aware of NYC DEP 1,452 54.0 46.0 NYC watershed 1,047 56.9 43.1 MOA 614 61.4 38.6 Cryptosporidium 309 52.8 47.2 Total Annual Household Income <$35,000 633 49.0 51.0 $35-70,000 485 52.8 47.2 >$70,000 225 68.4 31.6 Education Less than high school 151 53.6 46.4 High school 404 49.8 50.2 Post secondary 982 55.6 44.4 Borough of Residence Brooklyn 487 50.5 49.5 Bronx 487 54.2 45.8 Manhattan 308 56.5 43.5 Queens 411 54.7 45.3 Staten Island 80 61.3 38.8 Source: Pfeffer and Stycos (1996). Data were collected in New York City's five boroughs in Spring 1996 via telephone interviews of individuals living in households selected by means of random digit dialing. Individuals answering the call were asked for the person in their household age 18 or older who last had a birthday. That person was then interviewed, for an average time of 20 minutes. The interviews covered a wide range of topics including the subject's evaluation of world, national, and local environments, specific environmental concerns (especially those related to water quality), attitudes toward environmental problems, knowledge of environmental law, population, and environmental behavior, and their sociodemographic characteristics.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy to treat contaminated water. Baker (1949) reports that descriptions of water treatment are found in Sanskrit medical lore and Egyptian inscriptions dating back to the fifteenth century B.C. Boiling water and filtration through porous vessels or through sand and gravel have been used to improve water quality for thousands of years. The writings of Hippocrates (460–354 B.C.) discuss the relationship between water quality and health and recommend boiling rain water and straining it through a cloth bag (NRC, 1977). In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, installation of filtration and disinfection processes in community water supplies has been associated with decreased morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases in the United States and Europe. Filtration was first used to remove particles from drinking water in New York State during the 1870s. Later experiments demonstrated that filtration had a direct impact on observed disease rates of typhoid fever. Disinfection of drinking water supplies, developed around the turn of the century, has virtually eliminated many waterborne microbial diseases in developed countries. Chlorine was and continues to be the most popular disinfectant because of its relatively low cost and high potency. Like other disinfectants, chlorine inactivates bacteria, viruses, and other microbes via nonspecific oxidation of the organism. Table 3-2 lists landmark advances in the discovery and control of waterborne infectious disease. Common Waterborne Pathogens The most commonly recognized waterborne pathogens consist of several groups of enteric and aquatic bacteria, enteric viruses, and enteric protozoa (Table 3-3). Data collected on waterborne disease outbreaks from 1920 to the present indicate that there has been a shift in the microorganisms responsible for waterborne disease. Recognized outbreaks during the first half of the twentieth century were caused by bacterial agents—primarily Salmonella typhi and shigella sp. Since the 1970s, recognized waterborne disease outbreaks have been caused predominantly by enteric protozoa such as Giardia or Cryptosporidium (when an etiologic agent is identified) or viral agents (Craun, 1986). This shift may be due to the greater resistance of protozoa to chlorination, which is shown in Table 3-4. Table 3-3 lists only those organisms documented to have caused waterborne disease. Other pathogens that can be transmitted via ingestion of water include adenoviruses, Helicobacter pylori, atypical (nontuberculosis) mycobacteria, and Microsporidia (Enterocytozoon and Septata). Treatment Options for Controlling Waterborne Pathogens Most waterborne pathogens are removed or inactivated by conventional water treatment processes such as coagulation and sedimentation, filtration, and disinfection. Enteric viruses and bacteria are particularly susceptible to disinfection
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 3-2 Advances in the Recognition and Control of Waterborne Disease Year Event 1829 First well-documented water filter built by James Simpson for the Chelsea Water Company of London. 1849 An estimated 110,000 people die from cholera in the UK. 1854 John Snow removes the handle from the Broad Street pump in an effort to stop the transmission of cholera in London. 1872–1874 First water filtration plants in the U.S. built in Poughkeepsie, NY, and Hudson, NY. 1884 Robert Koch identifies Vibrio cholera as the causal agent of cholera and describes the germ theory of disease. 1887 Experiments on water filtration conducted in Lawrence, MA. This leads to the first rapid sand filter in 1893 and an observed 79 percent decrease in typhoid fever mortality over the next 5 years. 1892 Rienecke observes that increases in the bacterial content of drinking water in Hamburg, Germany, corresponded to increases in infant mortality and report a 50 percent decline in infant mortality from diarrheal disease in the year after Hamburg started to filter the public water supply. 1893 Chlorination used to treat sewage effluent in Brewster, NY, to protect New York City drinking water. 1897 Chlorination of drinking water in Maidstone, Kent, UK, after an outbreak of typhoid fever. 1902 First continuous chlorination of a water supply in Belgium. 1904 10 percent of U.S. urban population receives filtered water. 1907 46 U.S. cities using filtration to treat drinking water. 1908 First continuous, large-scale use of chlorination for an urban water supply in the U.S. in Jersey City, NJ. 1914 36 percent of U.S. urban population receives filtered water. Allan Hazen writes enthusiastically about the benefits of water chlorination. 1920 Earliest data on occurrence and causes of waterborne disease outbreaks in the U.S. is collected. 1930 27 percent of community water supplies in the U.S. have disinfection facilities. 1920–1935 Typhoid fever is the most commonly recognized waterborne disease in the U.S. 1936–1961 Shigellosis is the most commonly recognized waterborne disease in the U.S. 1965 Outbreak (16,000 cases) of waterborne salmonellosis in Riverside, CA. First documented waterborne outbreak of giardiasis in the U.S. occurs at Aspen, CO. 1971–1980 Giardiasis becomes the most commonly recognized waterborne disease. 1975 First recognized outbreak of waterborne disease caused by toxigenic E. coli in Crater Lake National Park, OR. 1984 First recorded waterborne outbreak of cryptosporidiosis occurs in Texas. 1989 First recorded waterborne outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 occurs in Missouri (243 cases, 4 deaths). 1993 Largest recorded waterborne disease outbreak in U.S. history caused by Cryptosporidium in Milwaukee, WI (estimated 400,000 cases). Sources: Craun (1986), Hunter (1997), ILSI (1993), Long mate (1966), NRC (1977), Sedgwick and MacNutt (1910).
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 3-3 Illnesses Caused by Microbial Agents Acquired by Ingestion of Water Agent Source Incubation Period Clinical Syndrome Duration Viruses: Astrovirus human feces1 1-4 days Acute gastroenteritis 2-3 days; occasionally 1-14 days Enteroviruses (polioviruses, coxsackieviruses, echoviruses) human feces 3-14 days (usually 5–10 days) Febrile illness, respiratory illness, meningitis, herpangina, pleurodynia, conjunctivitis, myocardiopathy, diarrhea, paralytic disease, encephalitis, ataxia Variable Hepatitis A human feces 15-50 days (usually 25-30 days) Fever, malaise, jaundice, abdominal pain, anorexia, nausea 1-2 weeks to several months Hepatitis E2 human feces 15-65 days (usually 35-40 days) Fever, malaise, jaundice, abdominal pain, anorexia, nausea 1-2 weeks to several months Norwalk-like viruses human feces 1-2 days Acute gastroenteritis with predominant nausea and vomiting 1-3 days Group A rotavirus human feces1 1-3 days Acute gastroenteritis with predominant nausea and vomiting 5-7 days Group B rotavirus2 human feces1 2-3 days Acute gastroenteritis Bacteria: Aeromonas hydrophila fresh water Watery diarrhea Average 42 days Campylobacter jejuni human and animal feces 3-5 days (1-7 days) Acute gastroenteritis, possible bloody and mucoid feces 1-4 days occasionally > 10 days
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Agent Source Incubation Period Clinical Syndrome Duration Enterohemorrhagic E. coli O157:H7 human and cattle feces 3-5 days Watery, then grossly bloody diarrhea, vomiting, possible hemolytic uremic syndrome 1-12 days Average 7-10 days Enteroinvasive E. coli human feces 2-3 days Possible dysentery with fever 1-2 weeks Enteropathogenic E. coli 2-6 days Watery to profuse watery diarrhea 1-3 weeks Enterotoxigenic E. coli human feces? 12-72 hours Watery to profuse watery diarrhea 3-5 days Plesiomonas shigelloides fresh surface water, fish, crustaceans, animals 1-2 days Bloody and mucoid diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting 11 days average Salmonellae human and animal feces 8-48 hours Loose, watery, occasionally bloody diarrhea 3-5 days Salmonella typhi2 human feces and urine 7-28 days (average 14 days) Fever, malaise, headache, cough, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain Weeks to months Shigellae human feces 1-7 days Possible dysentery with fever 4-7 days Vibrio cholera O12 human feces 9-72 hours Profuse, watery diarrhea, vomiting, rapid dehydration 3-4 days Vibrio cholera non-O12 human feces 1-5 days Watery diarrhea 3-4 days Yersinia enterocolitica animal feces and urine 2-7 days Abdominal pain, mucoid, occasionally bloody diarrhea, fever 1-21 days average 9 days
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Agent Source Incubation Period Clinical Syndrome Duration Protozoa: Balantidium coli2 human and animal feces Unknown Abdominal pain, occasional mucoid or bloody diarrhea Unknown Cryptosporidium parvum human and animal feces 1-2 weeks Profuse, watery diarrhea 4-21 days Entamoeba histolytica2 human feces 2-4 weeks Abdominal pain, occasional mucoid or bloody diarrhea Weeks to months Cyclospora cayetenensis2 human feces 1 week average Watery diarrhea, profound fatigue, anorexia, weight loss, bloating, abdominal cramps, nausea Weeks if untreated Giardia lamblia human and animal feces 5-25 days Abdominal pain, bloating, flatulence, loose, pale, greasy stools 1-2 weeks to months and years Algae: Cyanobacteria (Anabaena spp., Aphanizomenon spp., Microcystis spp.)2 Algal blooms in water A few hours Toxin poisoning (blistering of mouth, gastroenteritis, pneumonia) Variable Helminths: Dracunculus medinensis2 (Guinea worm) larvae 8-14 months (usually 12 months) Blister, localized arthritis of joints adjacent to site of infection Months 1 Animal strains of these viruses are not believed to be pathogenic for humans. 2 Waterborne infections in the U.S. are rare or undocumented.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy TABLE 3-4 Chlorine Disinfection Requirements for 99 Percent Inactivation of Waterborne Pathogens Organism Temperature (°C) pH Chlorine (mg/L) CT Valuea Escherichia coli 5 6.5 0.02–0.10 0.02 23 7.0 0.10 0.014 Giardia lamblia 5 7.0 2.0–8.0 25.5–44.8 25 7.0 1.5 <15 Cryptosporidium parvum 25 7.0 80 7,200 a CT = concentration of chlorine (mg/L) times the contact time (minutes) Adapted from Sterling (1990). by chlorine and ozone. Enteric protozoa, on the other hand, are relatively resistant to chlorine disinfection but are typically removed by the physical processes of coagulation and flocculation followed by filtration. Unfortunately, these treatment processes do not guarantee complete removal of microbial pathogens from drinking water, as evidenced by outbreaks of waterborne disease associated with water supplies that have conventional treatment. These disease outbreaks have generally resulted from (1) source contamination and the breakdown of one or more of the treatment barriers, (2) contamination of the distribution system, or (3) the use of untreated water. Box 3-2 describes how the failure of a water filtration plant and other factors contributed to a massive outbreak of the pathogenic protozoan Cryptosporidium in Milwaukee in 1993. Although treatment has reduced the incidence of waterborne disease in the United States since the nineteenth century, waterborne pathogens continue to pose a significant threat to public health in this country. Numerous outbreaks of waterborne disease are reported each year to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and represent only a fraction of the true burden of waterborne disease. Evidence of endemic waterborne disease comes from recent epidemiologic studies (described in Chapters 4 and 6 of this report). Chemical-Related Health Effects Although microbes cause the bulk of the waterborne disease in this country, chemicals also cause problems. For example, according to Craun and McCabe (1973), during the period 1946–1970, four chemical poisonings occurred in public supplies and eight occurred in private supplies (individual wells). Between 1961 and 1970, there were two and seven documented outbreaks in public and private supplies, respectively. In addition to acute poisonings, many chemicals cause chronic problems. For example, exposure of the human body to arsenic leads to both skin and lung cancer and nervous system toxicity. Of the known chronic problems, cancer is thought by many to be the most serious.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy NPDES Permits All discharges to waters of the nation (point sources) are required to meet performance standards and effluent quality standards. This is accomplished through the CWA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The NPDES program requires EPA (or the states with delegated programs) to issue enforceable permits for point source discharges such as industrial process wastewater, municipal WWTPs, or stormwater discharges from urban areas. Permits also regulate industrial point sources and concentrated animal feeding operations that discharge into other wastewater collection systems or that discharge directly into receiving waters. More than 200,000 sources are regulated by NPDES permits nationwide. In New York, the state issues the permits, which are referred to as SPDES (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits. There are 41 sewage treatment plants and seven industrial treatment plants in the Catskill/Delaware watershed and 85 WWTPs in the Croton watershed that operate under SPDES permits (Marx and Goldstein, 1993). When the NPDES program was created, most effluent limits were specified for technology-based parameters that measure the performance of a WWTP, such as biological oxygen demand (BOD) and total suspended solids (TSS). If a WWTP achieved the effluent concentrations typical of secondary treatment (e.g., 30 mg/L for BOD), then it was meeting effluent standards. Over time, the impact of point source discharges on the water quality of receiving bodies has become important, and there has been a corresponding evolution away from technology-based effluent limits toward water quality-based effluent limits (WQBEL). Common types of regulated pollutants for a WWTP have been expanded to include fecal coliform, oil and grease, organics (such as pesticides, solvents, polychlorinated biphenyls, and dioxins), metals, and nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus). As a result, chemicals that affect water quality but may give no indication of WWTP performance, such as nutrients, metals, and ammonia, have been added to NPDES permits. Besides setting effluent limits, NPDES permits outline both standard and site-specific compliance monitoring and reporting requirements for the discharger. Finally, they detail enforcement actions that will be taken when and if regulated facilities fail to comply with the provisions of their permits. EPA uses a variety of techniques to monitor compliance, including on-site inspections and review of data submitted by permittees. EPA has developed specific NPDES programs designed to combat particular types of effluent discharge that are exacerbated as the result of wet weather conditions and associated runoff and high flows. In particular, the NPDES Stormwater Program establishes a two-phased approach to addressing stormwater discharges. Phase I, which is currently being implemented, requires permits for separate stormwater systems serving medium-and large-sized communities (those with over 100,000 inhabitants) and for stormwater discharges associated with
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy industrial and construction activity involving at least five acres. There are currently three SPDES-permitted stormwater discharges associated with construction activities in the Catskill/Delaware watershed. Phase II, which is currently under development, will address remaining stormwater discharges. The goal of this program is to encompass as many activities and areas as possible, including urban areas with populations under 100,000, smaller construction sites, and retail, commercial, and residential activities. Wetlands Section 404 of the CWA establishes a program to regulate the discharge of dredged and fill material into the waters of the United States, which have been defined to encompass wetlands. Activities that are regulated under this program include water resource projects such as dams, infrastructure development such as highways, fill for development such as housing subdivisions, and conversion of wetlands to uplands for farming and forestry. The guiding principle of the program is that if a practical alternative that is less damaging to the aquatic environment exists or if the nation's waters would be significantly degraded, a proposed discharge of dredged or fill material into a wetland cannot be permitted. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers administers the program within a policy framework established by EPA. Individual permits are usually required for activities with potentially significant impacts. As a means of expediting program administration, general permits governing particular categories of activities such as minor road crossings and utility line backfill are issued on a nationwide, regional, or state basis. Antidegradation Antidegradation is a federal regulation related to the CWA stating that waters must not be allowed to degrade in quality such that their use classification and water quality criteria are violated (CFR Part 131, 1983). The concept of antidegradation deals primarily with ''assimilative capacity"—the amount of additional pollution that a body of water can receive without exceeding its water quality criteria or use classification. Antidegradation policies are meant to be developed by each state and must contain language similar to that promulgated by EPA. Although not always achieved, one goal of the EPA policy is to describe how the state will allocate the assimilative capacity of its waters (R. Shippen, EPA, personal communication, 1998). After a state has established use classifications and water quality criteria, it must develop an antidegradation policy that distinguishes three levels of water quality: Tier 1 (the lowest level of quality), Tier 2 (fishable and swimmable waters - High Quality Waters), and Tier 3 (Outstanding Natural Resources). Tier 1 waters cannot be allowed to degrade any further, and all existing uses of all
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy waters must be maintained. This is meant to guarantee a baseline level of protection for all waters, especially those that have no additional assimilative capacity. Tier 2 waters have a water quality greater than or equal to fishable/swimmable quality (i.e., they have some assimilative capacity). Water quality in these waters is only allowed to degrade to the level of fishable/swimmable (never lower) and only if certain significant criteria are met: (1) there must be important social or economic reasons for the lowering of water quality, (2) the public must be informed prior to any activity, and (3) the highest level of statutory and regulatory requirements for point sources, and the use of best management practices for nonpoint sources, must be achieved. Tier 3 waters, which have exceptional recreational and ecological significance (and consequently considerable assimilative capacity), cannot be allowed to degrade at all. These waters are generally found in national parks or other areas designated as pristine. As one might expect, Tier 2 waters are the most controversial because a lowering of water quality may in some cases be allowed, using up some of the waters' assimilative capacity. EPA requires that any activities that will result in a lowering of Tier 2 water quality be reviewed to determine whether the activity will violate state antidegradation policy. How this review will be conducted, and which activities will trigger a review, is left to the states to decide. Enforcement Authority As with the SDWA, the CWA calls for state enforcement of the regulations issued by EPA. Having been granted primacy by EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) must ensure New York's compliance with the CWA. NYS DEC determines the use classifications and water quality criteria for all state waters, it oversees the TMDL program, it operates the SPDES permitting program for WWTPs, and it is responsible for developing and implementing the state antidegradation policy. Guidelines and policies for implementing the CWA have been written into New York State law (Article 17 of the Environmental Conservation Law). LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS AFFECTING NEW YORK CITY The SDWA and the CWA, while comprehensive, are not expected to provide the sole protection of surface and groundwater supplies used as sources of drinking water. Rather, they are meant to serve as minimum requirements with which the states must comply in creating their own environmental programs. All states have written environmental laws to interpret the federal statutes and have created additional requirements as well. These state laws, regulations, and policies fill gaps between the federal regulations and (in some cases) increase the level of protection afforded to bodies of water.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Gaps between the federal regulations often stem from the various, sometimes-unrelated targets of these laws. For example, the SDWA lists specific quantitative standards for many known pollutants in drinking water, while the CWA mandates similar standards for source waters. Although both acts have watershed-based components, neither act requires or outlines a truly comprehensive watershed management strategy. The New York City MOA is an example of a state/local effort to design a watershed management strategy that complements and enhances federal environmental regulations. New York City Watershed Memorandum of Agreement The most extensive legal document governing activities in the New York City water supply watersheds is the 1997 New York City Watershed MOA. As described in Chapter 1, many sections of the MOA satisfy conditions of the City's filtration avoidance determination and are thus necessary for New York City to comply with the SWTR. Contents of the Memorandum of Agreement Land Acquisition Program. Because only 26 percent of Catskill/Delaware watershed is owned by New York City or New York State, an important element of the MOA is a land acquisition program that aims to increase the percentage of publicly owned land. This voluntary program allows New York City to acquire fee titles or conservation easements to vacant water quality-sensitive watershed lands on a "willing buyer/willing seller" basis. All titles and conservation easements are held in perpetuity. New York City has committed more than $250 million for land acquisition, and the MOA requires that New York City solicit participation of the owners of more than 3,50,000 acres by the year 2007. As discussed and analyzed in more detail in Chapter 7, areas closer to reservoir intakes and the distribution system are given higher priority for acquisition. The MOA also created a $17.5 million land acquisition program for the Croton watershed, but different criteria are used to prioritize the subwatershed areas, and there are no solicitation goals. Watershed Rules and Regulations. Because most of the watershed is in private ownership, the Watershed Rules and Regulations were created to control activities within the watershed that may increase pollution. Both point and nonpoint pollution sources are targeted, including WWTPs, on-site sewage treatment and disposal systems (OSTDS), stormwater runoff, and storage of hazardous materials. The regulations contain minimum treatment requirements for technologies that control these sources of pollution and specify effluent standards that some of these treatment technologies must meet. In addition, the regulations restrict a variety of activities from occurring in
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy close proximity to watercourses, reservoirs, reservoir stems, controlled lakes, and wetlands. For example, the siting of WWTPs, OSTDS, storage facilities for hazardous materials, petroleum, and salt, and the construction of impervious surfaces are all restricted within "setback" distances from the major bodies of water. There are some exemptions to these restrictions that were designed to promote responsible growth in existing areas while protecting water quality via increased regulation. Watershed Protection and Partnership Programs. The purpose of the Watershed Protection and Partnership Programs is to preserve the economic and social character of the Catskill/Delaware watershed communities while maintaining and enhancing water quality. The Catskill Watershed Corporation (CWC), a not-for-profit corporation, was formed to manage some of these programs for the Catskill/Delaware watershed region. The MOA calls for about $240 million to be allocated for these efforts, which include infrastructure improvements for stormwater and wastewater, development, conservation, and education (see Chapter 7). The MOA also provides funds (approximately $68 million) for Westchester and Putnam counties to develop and implement a Croton Plan. The objective of this plan is to develop a comprehensive approach to identify significant sources of pollution, to recommend measures for improving water quality, and to protect the character of watershed communities east of the Hudson River. In addition to the Watershed Protection and Partnership Programs, the MOA established the Watershed Protection and Partnership Council to provide broad oversight of New York City watershed management. The 27-member Council consists of representatives from New York City and State government agencies, watershed counties, environmental groups, the CWC, EPA, and the Watershed Agricultural Council. Its three main functions are (1) to serve as "a forum for the exchange of views, concerns, ideas, information, and [non-binding] recommendations relating to Watershed protection and environmentally responsible economic development," (2) to "periodically review and address efforts undertaken by governments and private parties to protect the Watershed," and (3) to "solicit input from governmental agencies, private organizations, or persons with an interest in the Watershed and the New York City drinking water supply'' (MOA, Article IV). The Executive Committee of the Council, consisting of 16 members, has more specific functions. Regulatory Authorities Involved in MOA Implementation EPA, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC), and the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) are the regulatory agencies responsible for enforcing the provisions of the MOA. In particular, EPA Region 2 and NYS DOH oversee the New York City filtration
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy avoidance determination, while NYS DEC oversees the TMDL and the SPDES permitting programs. The efforts of these three agencies are focused almost exclusively on the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), which implements these programs in the New York City watersheds. NYC DEP monitors the major bodies of water, inspects WWTPs, and runs a variety of nonpoint source control programs. Because of its predominant role in the watershed, NYC DEP is the primary focus of this report's reviews, critiques, and recommendations. Other government agencies also play a role during implementation of the MOA. The New York State Department of State, Division of Local Government, provides training and technical assistance to local governments and community organizations to help them take advantage of the Watershed Protection and Partnership Programs. A local office has been established in the Catskills to increase access to watershed governmental officials and citizens. New York City operates a Department of Health (NYC DOH) that is responsible for safeguarding the health of city-dwellers. As part of its many responsibilities under the filtration avoidance determination, NYC DOH monitors waterborne disease occurrence in the City by a variety of methods discussed in Chapter 6. NYC DOH and NYC DEP work together to determine the prevalence of waterborne disease and its possible sources in the watershed, the water supply system, or the distribution system. Finally, county health departments are involved in ensuring the success of the MOA. Along with NYS DOH and NYC DEP, county health departments oversee the construction and maintenance of new sewerage and septic systems. This includes new residential septic systems and commercial, institutional, and multifamily systems up to a maximum flow of 10,000 gallons per day. Other State and Local Laws Several state and local laws complement the regulations found in the MOA, the CWA, and the SDWA. The most important of these is the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act of 1975 (SEQR, Article 8 of the Environmental Conservation Law). Similar to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1975, SEQR requires that an environmental impact statement (EIS) be written for all major ministerial actions. For example, an EIS was prepared in 1993 following the drafting of the New York City Watershed Rules and Regulations (NYC DEP, 1993). Because of their size and scope, many of the actions required by and allowed under the MOA will require the preparation of an EIS. This process enables some public involvement in decision-making, but it also increases the time required for planning and implementation of new projects. Few states have a strong environmental review statute, and SEQR represents an extremely progressive environmental policy on the part of New York. Its provisions are described in greater detail in Box 3-5.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy BOX 3-5 State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) Act The purpose of the New York State Environmental Quality Review Act (as regulated in 6 NYCRR Part 617) is "to incorporate the consideration of environmental factors into planning, review, and decision-making processes of state, regional, and local government agencies at the earliest possible time." SEQR requires that all agencies determine whether the actions they undertake, fund, or approve of will have a significant impact on the environment. If so, an environmental impact statement (EIS) must be prepared that systematically considers significant adverse environmental impacts, alternatives, and mitigation. The EIS must also describe the potential social and economic benefits associated with the proposed project. SEQR spells out a number of Type I actions that are likely to require the preparation of an EIS. These include changes in any zoning district affecting 25 acres or more, nonresidential projects physically altering 10 or more acres of land, and the acquisition, sale, lease, annexation, or transfer of 100 acres or more by a local agency. Examples with particular relevance to water quality include the construction of a WWTP or a large residential housing unit. Type II actions, which are likely to not require the preparation of an EIS, include repaving existing highways, maintaining existing landscaping, constructing a single-family home, adding a carport or swimming pool, and public or private forestry best management practices on less than 10 acres of land. The process for developing an EIS is similar to that of the National Environmental Policy Act process. First, the proposed action is classified and an environmental assessment form is completed. The lead agency (usually NYS DEC) then decides if the action includes the potential for at least one significant adverse environmental impact, which will cause "substantial adverse change in existing air quality, ground or surface water quality or quantity, traffic and noise levels; a substantial increase in solid waste production, or a substantial increase in the potential for erosion, flooding, leaking, or drainage problems." Significant impacts also include removal of vegetation, interference with wildlife migration, creation of a conflict with a community's current plans or goals, creation of human health hazard, and substantial change in land use or intensity of land use. If there is no potentially significant impact, than a negative declaration is published and filed. For projects that may negatively affect the environment, the applicant must complete a draft EIS. The draft EIS fully describes the proposed action, including its relevant social and economic benefits. The environmental setting is described,
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy and all potential environmental impacts are analyzed. In justifying the necessity for the action, the draft EIS must describe all reasonable alternatives to the action, including the "no-action" alternative. Finally, ways to reduce adverse environmental impacts must be explored. The draft EIS is a public document that must be available for a 30-day public review and comment period. After receiving and appropriately responding to public comments, the draft EIS is finalized. The project is then approved or denied by all relevant government agencies, ending the SEQR process. Other important state laws pertaining to watershed management can be found elsewhere in New York's Environmental Conservation Law (ECL). With regard to wetlands, a permit is required for any construction, dredging, or dumping in a freshwater wetland (ECL § 24-0701). Fishing, hunting, and trapping are allowed without permit in tidal wetlands, as is farming in freshwater wetlands. Finally, local government laws can play a role in watershed management, primarily via zoning provisions within the counties, towns, and villages of the watershed region. The Croton watershed contains portions of three counties—Westchester, Putnam, and Dutchess counties—while the Catskill/Delaware watershed wholly or partially includes Delaware, Schoharie, Greene, Sullivan, and Ulster counties. The role of local government regulations in dictating activities within the watershed region is described more extensively in Chapter 7. REFERENCES American Public Health Association. 1995. Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater . 19th Edition. Washington, DC: American Public Health Association. American Water Works Association (AWWA). 1993. Consumer Attitude Survey on Water Quality Issues. Denver, CO: American Water Works Association. Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. 1996. R18-11-1 Appendix A Numeric Water Quality Standards. April, 1996. Baker, M. N. 1949. The Quest for Pure Water. New York: American Water Works Association. Bellar, T. A., and J. J. Lichtenberg. 1974. Determining volatile organics at microgram-per-litre levels by gas chromatography. Journal of the American Water Works Association 66(12):739–744. Borchardt, J. A., and G. Walton. 1971. Water quality. In: Water Quality and Treatment, American Water Works Association. 3rd ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. 1996. Basic Standards and Methodologies for Surface Waters, 3.1.0 (5CCR 1002-8). March, 1996. Craun, G. F. 1986. Statistics of waterborne outbreaks in the U. S. (1920-1980) In Craun, G. F. (ed.) Waterborne Diseases in the United States. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press. Craun, G. F., and L. J. McCabe. 1973. Review of the Causes of Waterborne-Disease Outbreaks. Journal of the American Water Works Association 65(1):74–84. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 1989. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations; Total Coliforms (Including Fecal Coliforms and E. coli) Final Rule. Federal Register 54(124):27544–27568. EPA. 1990. Guidance manual for Compliance with the Filtration and Disinfection Requirements for Public Water Systems Using Surface Water Sources. Washington, DC: EPA. EPA. 1996. Watershed Framework. Washington, DC: EPA. EPA. 1997a. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Disinfectants and Disinfection Byproducts; Notice of Data Availability, Proposed Rule. Federal Register 62(212):59388–59484. EPA. 1997b. National Primary Drinking Water Regulations: Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule; Notice of Data Availability, Proposed Rule. Federal Register 62(212):59388–59484. EPA. 1997c. Draft TMDL Policy on Pace and Implementation. Office of Water. Washington, DC: Office of Water, EPA. EPA. 1998a. Final D/DBP Rule. Federal Register 63(241):68389–69476. EPA. 1998b. Proposed D/DBP Rule. Federal Register 63(61):15673–15692. EPA. 1998c. EPA Rationale for Chloroform Zero MCLG. Water Policy Report 7(25):4–6. EPA. 1998d. Dichloroacetic acid: Carcinogenicity Identification Characterization Summary. Washington, DC: National Center for Environmental Assessment, Office of Research and Development, EPA. EPA. 1998e. Contaminant Candidate List Rule. Federal Register 63(40):15063–15068. Fox, K. R., and D. A. Lytle. 1996. Milwaukee's cryptosporidiosis outbreak: investigation and recommendations. Journal of the American Waterworks Association 88(9):87–94. Freudenberg, N., and C. Steinsapir. 1992. Not in Our Backyards: The Grassroots Environmental Movement. Pp. 27-38 in Dunlap, R. E., and A. G. Mertig (eds.), American Environmentalism: The U. S. Environmental Movement, 1970–1990. Philadelphia, PA: Taylor and Francis. Harris, R. H., and E. M. Brecher. 1974. Is the water safe to drink? Consumer Reports June:436–443. Hopkins, R. S., Gaspard, B., Eisnach, L., and R. J. Karlin. 1983. Waterborne Disease in Colorado–Report on Two Years Surveillance and Eleven Waterborne Outbreaks, Final Report, EPA Contract 68-03-2927. Hunter, P. 1997. Waterborne Disease: Epidemiology and Ecology. Chichester: John Wiley. International Life Sciences Institute (ILSI). 1993. U. S. Perspective on Balancing Chemical and Microbial Risks of Disinfection. In Safety of Water Disinfection: Balancing Chemical and Microbial Risks, G. F. Craun, editor. Washington, DC: ILSI Press. Larson, R. L. 1999. Court Rules the CWA Does Not Regulate Nonpoint Source. Water Environment and Technology 11(1): 72. Longmate, N. 1966. King Cholera: The Biography of a Disease. London: Hamish Hamilton. MacKenzie, W. R., N. J. Hoxie, M. E. Proctor, M. S. Gradus, K. A. Blair, D. E. Peterson, J. J. Kazmierczak, D. G. Addiss, K. R. Fox, J. B. Rose, and J. P. David. 1994. Massive Waterborne Outbreak of Cryptosporidium Infection Associated with a Filtered Public Water Supply, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March and April 1993. New England Journal of Medicine 331(3):161–167. Marx, R., and E. Goldstein. 1993. A Guide to New York City's Reservoirs and Their Watersheds. New York, NY: National Resource Defense Council.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy McCabe, L. J., J. M. Symons, R. D. Lee, and G. G. Robeck. 1970. Survey of community water supply systems. Journal of the American Water Works Association 62(11):670–687. McDermott, J. H. 1973. Federal Drinking Water Standards—Past, Present, and Future. Jour. Envir. Engr. Div., ASCE, EE4:99:469. Milwaukee Journal. 1993. Watering down a disaster. Milwaukee, WI: Milwaukee Journal. National Cancer Institute. 1976. Report on Carcinogenesis Bioassay of Chloroform. Technical Information Service No. PB 264018/AS. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. National Research Council (NRC). 1977. Drinking Water and Health. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. NRC. 1999. New Strategies for America's Watersheds. Washington, DC: National Academy Press. New York City Department of Environment and Protection (NYC DEP). 1993. Final Generic Environmental Impact Statement for the Proposed Watershed Regulations for the Protection from Contamination, Degradation, and Pollution of the New York City Water Supply and its Sources . November 1993. Corona, NY: NYC DEP. NYC DEP. 1999. Development of a water quality guidance value for Phase II TMDLs in the NYC Reservoirs. Valhalla, NY: NYC DEP. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC). Water Quality Regulations: Surface Water and Groundwater Classifications and Standards. Effective January 9, 1994. Albany, NY: NYS DEC. North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources. 1998. Classifications and Water Quality Standards. 15A NCAC 2B .0200. Raleigh, NC: NCDENR. Pfeffer, M. J., and J. M. Stycos. 1996. Public opinion survey on environment and water quality in the New York City Watershed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University. Unpublished Data. Pontius, F. W. 1990. New regulations for total coliforms. Journal of the American Water Works Association 82(8):16, 20–22. Pontius, F. W. 1997. Overview of SDWA source water protection programs. Journal of the American Water Works Association 89(11):22–24, 123. See also USEPA, State Source Water Assessment and Protection Programs, Final Guidance, Office of Water, EPA 816-R-97-009, Washington, DC (Aug. 1997). Rook, J. J. 1974. Formation of haloforms during chlorination of natural water. Water Treatment and Examination 23(2):234–243. Schwartz, J., R. Levin, and K. Hodge. 1997. Drinking water turbidity and pediatric hospital use for gastrointestinal illness in Philadelphia. Epidemiology 8(6):615–620. Sedgwick, W. T., and J. S. MacNutt. 1910. On the Mills-Reincke phenomenon and Hazen's theorem concerning the decrease in mortality from diseases other than typhoid fever following the purification of public water supplies. Jour. Inf. Dis. 7(4):489–564. Singer, P. C., A. Obolensky, and A. Greiner. 1995. DBPs in chlorinated North Carolina drinking waters. Journal of the American Water Works Association 87(10):83–92. Sterling, C. R. 1990. Waterborne cryptosporidiosis. In Dubey, J. P., C. A. Speer, R. Fayer (eds.) Cryptosporidiosis of Man and Animals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press Inc. Symons, J. M., and J. C. Hoff. 1976. Rationale for turbidity maximum contaminant level. Paper 2A-4a In American Water Works Association Technology Conference Proceedings, Water Quality Technology Conference, December 8-9, 1975, Atlanta, GA., American Water Works Association, Denver, CO. Szasz, A. 1994. EcoPopulism: Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. U. S. Public Health Service. 1925. Report of the Advisory Committee on Official Water Standards. Public Health Reports 40:693 (April 10). Utah Department of Environmental Quality. 1994. Utah R317-2-14. Numeric Criteria. February, 1994. Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. 1988. Water Quality Standards. July.
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Watershed Management for Potable Water Supply: Assessing the New York City Strategy Waller, K., S. H. Swan, G. DeLorenze, and B. Hopkins. 1998. Trihalomethanes in drinking water and spontaneous abortion. Epidemiology 9(2):134–140. Washington Department of Ecology. 1993. Washington WAC 173-201A-030, 040, and 050. General Water Use and Criteria Classes. Toxic Substance Criteria from 40 CFR 131.36 (b)(1), Column D1, July, 1993. Water Report. 1999. Clean Water Act Reauthorization. Key House Member Says CWA Should Not Regulate Nonpoint Pollution. Water Policy Report March 31:16. Wetzel. R. G., and G. E. Likens. 1991. Limnological Analyses. 2nd Edition. New York, NY: Springer-Verlag.
Representative terms from entire chapter: