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.

Upgrades at Treatment Facilities

The super boom at the Fresh Kills landfill prevented debris from entering the Arthur Kill Waterway
  The Interstate Environmental Commission was instrumental in the proceedings that resulted in vastly improved operational procedures at the currently closed Fresh Kills landfill, located on the Arthur Kill shoreline in the western portion of Staten Island, New York. The Commission targeted the issue of debris escaping from garbage unloading operations at the landfill, entering the waters of the District—in contravention of the IEC’s Water Quality Regulations—and washing up along area beaches and shorelines afterwards. The majority of New York City’s municipal solid waste was transported to the Fresh Kills landfill by barge before the landfill’s closure.
In an effort to eliminate or, at a minimum, lessen the impacts from planned sewage bypasses, the Commission amended its regulations in 1997 to require advanced mandatory notification to the IEC of all planned sewage bypasses emptying directly into the waters of the Interstate Environmental District. Prior to any planned discharge of raw or partially treated sewage material from a public or private sewage treatment facility, the discharger is required to prepare and submit a notice to the Commission. The notice should contain all relevant information including the location, character and amount of the planned discharge. The requirement does not apply to wet weather discharges from combined sewer overflows or storm sewer outflows. 


  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

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