Environmental Protection

Notify NYC Will Now Announce Advisories During and After Rain Events

The DEP and OEM announced that NYC’s official notification system will now issue rain-related advisories on 25 waterbodies in the area.

Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland and Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno announced that Notify NYC, New York City’s official notification system, will now issue advisories when heavy rain causes untreated wastewater discharges into New York City waterways. Like other older urban areas, New York City is largely serviced by a combined sewer system where storm water and wastewater are carried through a single pipe. During heavy rain storms, the system can exceed its capacity and must discharge a mix of storm water and wastewater — called a combined sewer overflow (CSO) — into New York Harbor from approximately 420 combined sewer outfalls.

The Notify NYC advisories will distribute information also featured on DEP’s Waterbody Advisory webpage, a tool that displays real-time advisories for activities such as boating for 25 waterbodies. Notify NYC will alert subscribers by text message and/or e-mail when there is potential for untreated wastewater discharges. The notices will be tailored to each waterbody and will give the projected time that the advisories will end based on rainfall amounts, computer models of overflows, and the volume of each waterbody so that the public will know when to resume recreational activities. CSO Waterbody Advisories are separate from Public Health Notifications, which alert recipients to public beach closings.

Notify NYC is a free emergency notification service that provides ZIP-code specific information about significant events in all five boroughs. Subscribers can choose to receive notifications by e-mail, SMS/text, and/or recorded telephone calls. Notifications are also available @NotifyNYC on Twitter. To date, Notify NYC has more than 138,500 subscribers. Notify NYC is a voluntary program. For more information about Notify NYC or to register, visit nyc.gov/notifynyc.

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