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January 14, 1999

Contact: Cathy DelliCarpini (718/595-6600)

New York City'S Water Quality Remains High

De-Icing Fluid From Westchester Airport Does Not Impact City's Water Supply

De-icing fluid detected by Westchester County in the Rye Lake section of New York City's Kensico Reservoir does not impact New York City's water supply system and is not hazardous to human health.

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., stated, "While some tests performed by Westchester County found traces of the de-icing fluid in the Reservoir, follow up samples taken by Westchester County did not confirm the presence of the chemical. In addition, multiple samples taken by DEP near the airport, at the middle of Rye Lake (easternmost portion of Kensico Reservoir), and at the City's intake pipes to the Reservoir, did not detect any traces of the chemical. This situation poses no health threat to Westchester County or New York City residents."

The de-icing fluid, propylene glycol, which emanated from the Westchester County Airport, is the most commonly used de-icing compound and is also used as a food additive. The positive samples for propylene glycol were taken from the intake pipe that serves certain sections of Westchester County and is located closest to the airport. In contrast, New York City's intake pipe is on the opposite side of the Reservoir from the airport.

DEP will conduct additional sampling throughout the winter to ensure that propylene glycol does not impact the Reservoir. Westchester County Airport will also continue to comply with State requirements to monitor outfalls and report their findings to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. By December of 1999, the Airport will complete a long term capital improvement plan to divert all runoff away from New York City watershed lands.

The Kensico is one of 19 reservoirs in the City's water supply system. It holds 30.6 billion gallons of water, most of which comes from the City's Catskill and Delaware system reservoirs, west of the Hudson River. The Reservoir is located in the Westchester County towns of Harrison, Mount Pleasant, and North Castle.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

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

(718) 595-6600