About Us - Accomplishments
The Interstate Environmental Commission is proud of the
environmental progress attained in so many areas. The Commission
continues to move forward with strong programs covering
interstate coordination, water testing and monitoring, response
to emergencies, regulation and enforcement, research, and a full
slate of activities to address public education and public
outreach. The IEC’s efforts during the years produced a lengthy
list of substantial accomplishments that have provided, and
continue to provide, benefits to the whole tri-state region. A
portion of these accomplishments is highlighted below.
The Interstate Environmental Commission’s activities
resulted in more stringent permit requirements for publicly
or privately owned treatment facilities discharging into the
Commission’s District, in order to control and prevent
pollutants from emptying into tri-state waterways. This is
also an example of how the Commission’s interstate
jurisdiction benefits each of its member states. Wastewater
treatment facilities discharging into District waters must
comply with the Commission’s regulations, in addition to the
regulations that a member state might impose on them.
The IEC’s adoption of its year-round disinfection requirements for all discharges into the District’s waterways was instrumental in lowering bacterial contamination and, thus far, has resulted in thousands of acres of shellfishing waters now being opened year-round—and not just during warm weather— since 1989. There have been fewer beach closings during the summer bathing seasons due to elevated levels of coliform bacteria.
The IEC has chaired the Regional Bypass Workgroup, a
product of which was the Regional Bypass model. The model is
a mathematical tool that predicts the impact of sewage
discharges on District waters. Specifically, the quick
predictions can determine whether a discharge occurring at a
certain point will affect another area, and if there should
be concern as to whether a beach or a shellfish area should
be closed. During June 1997, a force main failure under
Eastchester Bay, in conjunction with other sewage releases,
caused the immediate closing of public beaches in the Bronx,
as well as in Westchester County and Connecticut (~10 miles
to the east). This was the impetus to form the Regional
Bypass Work Group. The Commission spearheaded, coordinated
and partially funded this multi-state, multi-agency effort
that resulted in regional notification and tracking
procedures for unplanned sewage bypasses to ensure proper
action for the protection of bathers and shellfisheries.
In an effort to fulfill data gaps and to address the need for comprehensive monitoring throughout the New York-New Jersey Harbor Complex and its tributaries, IEC has taken a leadership role in the development of numerous harbor-wide monitoring programs. As is customary, the Commission utilizes EPA’s national databases to share or make its data publicly available (STORET at www.epa.gov/storet and ICIS at https://icis.epa.gov/icis, password required).
The Commission remains actively involved
with the Long Island Sound Study and the New
York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program—both
parts of the National Estuary Program—including
special intensive surveys in support of these
programs. IEC participates on the Management
Committees, implementation and planning teams,
and on various workgroups for these studies.
With the Comprehensive Conservation and
Management Plans for the LISS and the HEP in
place, IEC remains a part of those workgroups
that determine total maximum daily loads for
pathogens, nutrients and toxics.
The Interstate Environmental Commission has established and continues to implement an active, wide-ranged program of public education and public outreach. The Commission sponsors and co-sponsors conferences, and makes its library available to the academic community. Moreover, Commission staff lectures to all levels of students and the Senior Manager advises and works with students enrolled in the Masters Program of the College of Staten Island.
It is fair to say that in every essential area of activity — sampling, monitoring, coordination, regulation and enforcement, public education, and public outreach — the IEC has carried the ball in an effort to restore and maintain the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of its District waters, and to ensure that they meet standards necessary for human sports and recreation.
Collecting Samples in far Western Long Island Sound
Copyright 2013 Interstate Environmental Commission