New York City Department of Environmental Protection

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Department of Environmental Protection
New York City Department of Environmental Protection logo.png
Department overview
JurisdictionNew York City
Headquarters59-17 Junction Boulevard
Elmhurst, Queens
Employees7402 (2019)
Department executive
Key document
Tallman Island plant
Rockaway plant
Sludge boat passing under the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is the department of the government of New York City[1] that manages the city's water supply and works to reduce air, noise, and hazardous materials pollution.

Under a 1.3 billion dollar budget, it provides more than 1.1 billion US gallons (4,200,000 m3) of water each day to more than 9 million residents (including 8 million in the City of New York) through a complex network of nineteen reservoirs, three controlled lakes and 6,000 miles (9,700 km) of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts. DEP is also responsible for managing the city's combined sewer system, which carries both storm water runoff and sanitary waste, and fourteen wastewater treatment plants located throughout the city. DEP carries out federal Clean Water Act rules and regulations, handles hazardous materials emergencies and toxic site remediation, oversees asbestos monitoring and removal, enforces the city's air and noise codes, bills and collects on city water and sewer accounts, and manages citywide water conservation programs. Its regulations are compiled in title 15 of the New York City Rules.


Drinking water[edit]

NYCDEP manages three upstate supply systems to provide the city's drinking water: the Croton system, the Catskill system, and the Delaware system. The overall distribution system has a storage capacity of 550 billion US gallons (2.1×109 m3) and provides over 1 billion US gallons (3,800,000 m3) per day of water to more than eight million city residents and another one million users in four upstate counties bordering on the water supply system. The distribution system is made up of an extensive grid of water mains stretching approximately 6,600 miles (10,600 km).

Wastewater treatment[edit]

The city's wastewater is collected through an extensive grid of sewer pipes of various sizes and stretching over 7,400 miles (11,900 km). The Bureau of Wastewater Treatment (BWT) operates 14 water pollution control plants treating an average of 1.3 billion US gallons (4,900,000 m3) of wastewater a day; 96 wastewater pump stations: 8 dewatering facilities; and 490 sewer regulators. The bureau has a staff of 1,900 employees, with a $340 million annual operating budget, and an annual capital budget of $200 million.[2][3]

Wastewater Treatment Plants
Plant Service area Size ser day Discharges to
In millions
of gallons
In thousands
of cubic
26th Ward Eastern Brooklyn 85 320 Jamaica Bay
Bowery Bay Northeast Queens 150 570 Upper East River
Coney Island South Brooklyn, Central Brooklyn 110 420 Jamaica Bay
Hunts Point Eastern Bronx 200 760 Upper East River
Jamaica Southern Queens 100 380 Jamaica Bay
Newtown Creek Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens 310 1,200 East River
North River Manhattan 170 640 Hudson River
Oakwood Beach Staten Island 40 151 Lower New York Bay
Rockaway Queens 45 170 Jamaica Bay
Owls Head Brooklyn 120 450 Upper New York Bay
Wards Island Bronx, Manhattan 275 1,040 Upper East River
Tallman Island Queens 80 300 Upper East River
Port Richmond Staten Island 60 230 Kill Van Kull
Red Hook Brooklyn, Governor's Island 60 230 Lower East River


The current commissioner Rohit Aggarwala was appointed by Mayor Eric Adams in January 2022. Other former Commissioners include:

Violation of federal environmental laws[edit]

The federal government began investigating the DEP in 1998. On August 29, 2001, the DEP pleaded guilty in federal court to criminal violations of the Clean Water Act and the Toxic Substances Control Act, and sentenced to probation. As a condition of probation, the DEP was required to implement an environmental, health and safety compliance program to prevent future environmental law violations and to improve employee safety working conditions.

In 2003, the Office of Environmental, Health and Safety Compliance (EHS) was formed to administer the DEP's comprehensive safety and compliance efforts, which included the EHS Employee Concerns Program.

In 2006, the term of probation was extended and the BWT was included under the federal monitor's oversight following a discharge of untreated sewage into the East River after emergency generators failed to operate during the August 2003 blackout.

On December 25, 2009, probation and federal oversight of the DEP ended.[4]

EHS Programs[edit]

Employee Concerns Program[edit]

Facilitates DEP employee reporting of observed environmental violations and unsafe employee conditions. Helps employees identify and prevent the harassment and intimidation of co-workers engaged in such activities. - 24/7 confidential employee concerns hotline - contract management plan to quicken execution of safety-related contracts - risk management program

Tiered Audit Program[edit]

Rates conditions by priority, enabling the agency to identify and address more than 44,000 specific workplace conditions

Compliance Action Plan[edit]

Ensures DEP follows all federal, state and local environmental, health and safety regulations by developing written policies, conducting training, and by purchasing and distributing safety equipment.

Since 2001, DEP has invested about $160 million in environmental health and safety programs.

OpX Program[edit]

In 2011, the New York City Water Board appointed Veolia Water to partner with DEP in an effort to identify opportunities to make improvements in every aspect of New York City's drinking water, sewage collection, and wastewater treatment operations. Veolia teamed with McKinsey & Company and Arcadis to acquire additional analytical and technical expertise, respectively. The initiative, branded "Operational Excellence (OpX): The Best Always Do Better," is an opportunity for DEP to take employee ideas and best practices from water utilities across the globe to achieve the agency's goal of being the "safest, most productive, cost-effective, and transparent water utility in the nation."[5]

Rather than responding to future financial pressures with budget cuts that might weaken critical services, the OpX initiative makes improvements that will increase the strength of DEP. The OpX program aims to streamline workflows, boost efficiency, and continuously identify opportunities for improvements that will allow DEP to maintain its level of customer service, safety, and productivity while minimizing rate increases for its roughly 836,000 rate-payers. To achieve this, the Commissioner set a goal for OpX to achieve operating benefits of $100–200 million by 2016.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ New York City Charter § 1401; "There shall be a department of environmental protection, the head of which shall be the commissioner of environmental protection."
  2. ^ NYCDEP. "DEP Offices." Accessed 2015-08-20.
  3. ^ NYCDEP. "New York City's Wastewater Treatment System." Accessed 2015-08-20.
  4. ^ "Mayor Bloomberg Announces the End of Federal Probation and Federal Monitoring for DEP". Press release. NYCDEP. 2009-12-25.
  5. ^ OpX Phase I Report Archived September 6, 2012, at the Wayback Machine

External links[edit]