About Us - Mission And Goals

The Interstate Environmental Commission’s mission is to protect and enhance environmental quality through cooperation, regulation, coordination, and mutual dialogue between government and citizens in the Tri-State Region.


The goals of the Interstate Environmental Commission are:
  • To foster improved understanding of the condition of District waters through long-term and short-term ambient water quality monitoring surveys;
  • To provide member states with compliance assistance through inspections, monitoring and analyses.
  • To facilitate and coordinate dialogue and education on interstate water pollution issues with regional agencies, organizations and the public.

Arthur Kill Lift Bridge


The Interstate Environmental Commission will implement these goals by:

  • Coordinating interstate and region-wide water quality programs.
  • Providing technical assistance and support to its member States on water quality issues.
  • Enhancing public and legislative awareness, disseminating information on issues related to water quality, and promoting citizen science.

Since its inception in the 1930s when conflicts began to arise regarding pollution in the waters surrounding and shared by the States of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, the Interstate Environmental Commission has been and remains actively involved in seeking solutions and resolutions to these problems. Being a tri-state agency with regulatory and enforcement powers affords the Commission the ability to address water pollution and other environmental issues from a regional perspective, in cooperation with its member states, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), and regional partnership programs, such as the Harbor Estuary Program and the Long Island Sound Study. The Commission continually provides technical support to its member states and is committed to developing a common set of measurable environmental indicators that are compatible with indicators developed by those member states, the US EPA and the estuary programs. Development of these environmental indicators cooperatively will ensure that progress toward environmental goals can be measured in a comparable manner throughout the region.

Oyster Dredging in the Long Island Sound, off the coast of Stamford, CT.

The Interstate Environmental Commission has been, and plans to continue to be, at the center of major water pollution control efforts and regional management planning efforts. While implementing other actions that supplement state programs, the Commission initiates unique actions that affect the whole tri-state area—such as the region-wide bypass notification regulations and the region-wide requirement for year-round disinfection. Moreover, the IEC implements geographically targeted initiatives (e.g., monitoring in Raritan Bay in New Jersey and Long Island Sound in New York) and addresses the national concerns of total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) through a watershed approach to pollution control.

Over the years, adequate infrastructure has been a major concern for the Commission. Construction and upgrading of wastewater treatment facilities became one of the Commission's highest priorities. With the advent in wastewater treatment, the focus has now shifted to controlling untreated discharges from combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and storm sewers outfalls (SSOs), as well as dealing with nitrogen and other pollutants from both point and nonpoint sources. Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus and other pollutants have been identified as contributing to the existing degradation of the region's waters. Despite the tremendous strides that have been made jointly by environmental agencies at all levels of government, additional work remains. 

Byram Outfall
The IEC's jurisdictional authority transcends political, social and economic boundaries. The needs to increase public and legislative awareness and provide a higher profile in the region are key factors to the success of the Commission's mission. The intent is to make the general public and legislators more aware of the role of the IEC and its significant importance to the region, thus aiding the Commission in its ability to reach out for additional funding. The IEC has a comprehensive strategy to reach out to the citizens of the tri-state area (e.g., IEC participation in appropriate state or municipal conferences/ conventions/expositions in the tri-state area) and to provide them with information on IEC activities and issues within the region. In order to increase the visibility of the Commission in the environmental community and to provide a better indication of its current role, the Commission has been sponsoring and aims to continue to sponsor periodic conferences and/or workshops on water quality issues. The IEC plans to enhance its public education and communication strategy to provide information and to promote public support. Along with the aforementioned initiatives, mechanisms have been created to identify and seek alternate additional funding that will enable the Commission to expand current programs and enter into additional programs that are needed throughout the region.

IEC Given a higher profile, greater public awareness and additional funding, the Commission can take the lead in building region-wide consensus on issues concerning the region as a whole. Pollution knows no state or political boundaries and cannot be viewed in a parochial manner. Thus, planning and achieving a healthy environment must be accomplished on a region-wide basis—that is, the region must be treated as a single environmental entity. By facilitating regional water quality and air quality planning, enhancing regional coordination and communications as well as providing opportunities for increased interaction on water pollution and air pollution strategies among IEC's member states and other appropriate agencies, the Commission can help build this consensus.

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Copyright 2015 Interstate Environmental Commission