City’s Argument does not hold water

Background: The City constantly purports that the water travels from Jerome Park Reservoir to the tap within 30 minutes. This is nothing close to the truth. These security concerns around Jerome Park Reservoir prohibit the public from walking inside the fence. They prevent stakeholders from participating in the protection of the balancing reservoir, one that no longer supplies drinking water. Two DEP Commissioners thought this was worthy of study. Below is my disagreement with the current position of the NYC DEP.

Recently, it has been reported in the press and by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) representatives that water travels from Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR) to the tap in just 30 minutes. This appears to be a prime reason the public cannot have access to inside the fence on DEP property.

The City’s argument does not hold water! What was once true before the Filter Plant was built is not now. The timing of water entering the distribution system changed when the City decided to filter that water supply.

Now is the time to correct these mis-statements. Clarification can be found in this link for the 2011 Report and Recommendations of the Jerome Park Reservoir Access Working Group commissioned by Commissioner Emily Lloyd (Lloyd Report) in March 2011. The Lloyd Report describes JPR’s function after the Croton Plant is in operation : when “the Croton Filtration Plant is operating, un-treated (”raw”) water from the New Croton Reservoir will flow into JPR, ….. all water released for in-city distribution will go through the Croton Water Filtration Plant …..” (emphasis added) That is, no water will go to the NYC public via Jerome Park Reservoir. Even now, before the plant is operational, no water from Jerome Park Reservoir is currently delivered to the in-city distribution system, and none has been since 2008. (see page 3 of the report linked above)

In other words, the water in the Jerome Park Reservoir is raw water which does not go to the taps of the NYC public. This raw water will always be treated at the Plant before it goes to the tap. More than likely, this raw water will be stored at JPR to balance the pressure at the Plant – it will “serve the Croton Filter Plant as a ‘surge tank,’ protecting the Plant from unexpected pressure surges.”

Additionally, the Lloyd Report proposed a pilot program in the cover letter to Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. when construction was completed. At this time, the Croton Water Treatment Plant and its off-site construction at the Jerome Park Reservoir (JPR) is coming to an end at both sites.

This is an opportunity to expeditiously implement the pilot program as proposed to the Bronx Borough President by NYCDEP Commissioner Caswell Holloway in 2011. This program could be completed by the end of next summer.

Please support the JPR public access pilot program : “it should consist of several days; it should provide for the use of the perimeter path if the path is safe for public use; it should include an educational tour of the site and its facilities; … it should include a less-structured type of “open house” where residents could have access to specific parts of the site; …. that the specific elements of the pilot program should be developed with the input and participation of the community and other interested stakeholders.”

JEROME PARK