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For Release: Friday, November 16, 2018

DEC Takes Enforcement Action to Protect Water Around Coney Island Creek, Jamaica Bay

State Order Requires NYC DEP Wastewater Treatment Facilities to Improve Nitrogen Removal Capabilities

$792,000 Penalty for Adverse Environmental Impacts to Fund Environmental Benefit Projects

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced completion of an enforcement action against the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) that requires DEP to continue to upgrade certain wastewater treatment plants discharging to Jamaica Bay to improve removal of nitrogen, a $198,000 penalty, and nearly $800,000 for Environmental Benefit Projects (EBP).

"This action will continue the momentum we've made to protect and improve water quality in Coney Island Creek and Jamaica Bay and the unique habitats and ecosystems they support," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. "To date the upgrades we've required have resulted in NYC removing approximately 10,500 pounds of nitrogen per/day or about 25 percent from its discharges to Jamaica Bay since 2009."

With the assistance of the New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood, DEC took this action after DEP failed to meet deadlines under a comprehensive consent judgement that requires DEP to upgrade certain wastewater treatment plants discharging to Jamaica Bay to improve removal of nitrogen, including the Coney Island Wastewater Treatment Plant. To offset the environmental impacts, in part, DEP must perform EBPs to improve local water quality.

The deadline for DEP to complete construction of the Coney Island nitrogen upgrade has been modified from December 31, 2020, to October 31, 2022, with interim limits until that time. In addition, DEP agreed to pay a penalty of $198,000, and to expend no less than $792,000 in EBPs to benefit the water around Coney Island Creek, Jamaica Bay, or Jamaica Bay tributaries, including the removal of debris and vessels, or wetland restoration. Currently, there is significant amount of noticeable debris in Coney Island Creek.

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