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June 27, 2012


Chris Gilbride / Ted Timbers (718) 595-6600

DEP Provides Update on Pepacton Reservoir Oil Leak

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) today provided the following update on the Pepacton Reservoir oil leak:

  • Starting this morning, a DEP contractor — Moran Environmental Recovery — began the mobilization of equipment which will be used during the underwater removal of suspected fuel oil from an object buried beneath the Pepacton Reservoir.  The contactor will use four 40-foot barges, three boats (ranging from 17 to 30 feet) and two cranes during the operation.  All of the equipment will be steam cleaned prior to being used in the reservoir and containment booms will continue to be maintained as a precautionary measure.
  • Thereafter, it is anticipated that on Monday, July 2nd, a team of six divers will begin the reconnaissance and recovery operation, which will last approximately five days.  The current plan is to remove all oil from the buried vessel in order to eliminate future discharges. Once the oil is removed, a determination will be made as to whether any further action is required.
  • In May, during routine surveillance, DEP Police discovered a potential oil leak in the Reservoir and immediately dispatched staff to investigate.
  • During an exploratory underwater inspection divers found a 4-inch diameter pipe protruding through the sediment at the bottom of the reservoir.  Although capped, the pipe has several small holes which are allowing some product (believed to be fuel oil) to escape.  Magnetometer readings suggest an object 4 feet in width may be buried beneath the reservoir.  The water quality has been monitored regularly and the leak poses no threat to public health.
  • Earlier this month a modified metal drum with a fitted valve and plug was placed over the top of the leaks and a containment boom was placed on the surface.  Divers saw no visual evidence of oil outside the containment boom.
  • Diversions from Pepacton Reservoir to Rondout Reservoir remain on line, but to ensure the safety of the divers, Pepacton Reservoir will be off line during the recovery operation.
  • State and Federal regulators are aware of the situation and DEP will continue to keep you informed.

DEP manages the city’s water supply, providing more than one billion gallons of water each day to more than nine million residents, including eight million in New York City, and residents of Ulster, Orange, Putnam and Westchester counties.  This water comes from the Catskill, Delaware, and Croton watersheds that extend more than 125 miles from the City, and the system comprises 19 reservoirs, three controlled lakes, and numerous tunnels and aqueducts. DEP employs nearly 6,000 employees, including more than 750 scientists, engineers, surveyors, watershed maintainers and others professionals in the upstate watershed.  In addition to its $49 million payroll and $132 million in annual taxes paid in upstate counties, DEP has invested more than $1.5 billion in watershed protection programs — including partnership organizations such as the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the Watershed Agricultural Council — that support sustainable farming practices, environmentally sensitive economic development, and local economic opportunity. In addition, DEP has a robust capital program with a planned $13.2 billion in investments over the next 10 years that creates up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year. For more information, visit, like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at

More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600