NYC Water wins regional taste test

Acting Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Vincent Sapienza, recently announced that the City’s tap water was awarded the top prize in New York State’s Regional Metro Tap Water Taste Contest competition. The contest was held at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan, New York, United States (U.S.) and pitted New York City’s tap water against drinking water from Westchester, Nassau, and Suffolk counties.

Museum visitors sampled tap water from the four suppliers and ranked them by taste, with New York City’s tap water judged to be the best. After winning the Regional Taste Contest competition, New York City tap water competed next in a state-wide contest held in Syracuse, New York. The annual taste test competition which takes place in county, regional, and state-wide contests is organised by the New York State Water and Wastewater Education and Outreach Committee.

“Generations ago, New York City had the foresight to construct the incredible network of infrastructure that uses only gravity to deliver high-quality drinking water from a pristine and protected watershed to the five boroughs,” said Acting Commissioner Sapienza. “Today we continue that proud tradition, investing billions of dollars in upgrades to our water supply system and watershed protection programmes, to ensure that the next generation of New Yorkers continue to enjoy a reliable supply of high quality drinking water.”

New York City’s tap water is internationally renowned for its quality. New York is one of only five large cities in the country permitted to run a largely unfiltered drinking water supply, due in large part to the City’s comprehensive watershed protection programmes. The City has invested more than US$1.7 billion in watershed protection programmes since 1993, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) first issued the City a waiver from the federal requirement to filter the water from the Catskill/Delaware System. In addition, DEP activated the US$3.2 billion Croton Filtration Plant in 2015, to filter water from the Croton supply system.

To ensure the water is safe and of the highest quality, DEP performs more than 630,000 analyses of the city’s drinking water every year. Samples are collected from the streams that feed the reservoirs, the reservoirs themselves, the aqueducts that carry the water to the city, and from nearly 1,000 sampling locations throughout the five boroughs. Each year, DEP publishes a Water Supply and Quality Report with detailed information about the water supply and the quality of the City’s drinking water.

NYC Water is a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages, containing zero calories, zero sugar, and zero fat. It is also affordable – at roughly one penny per gallon (3.7 litres), it is approximately 1,000 times less expensive than bottled water. In addition, drinking NYC Water helps to protect the environment, as the production of plastic water bottles for use in the United States uses 1.5 million barrels of oil a year – enough to power 250,000 homes or 100,000 cars all year.

DEP manages New York City’s water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons (3.7 billion litres) of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8.5 million in New York City. The water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles (201 kilometres) from the city, comprising 19 reservoirs and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles (11,265 kilometres) of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,500 miles of sewer lines and 96 pump stations take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants.

DEP has nearly 6,000 employees, including almost 1,000 in the upstate watershed. In addition, DEP has a robust capital programme, with a planned US$20.7 billion in investments over the next 10 years that will create up to 3,000 construction-related jobs per year.