Demand special protections for heavily polluted waters

Gowanus Canal pollution

Learn more about combined sewer overflows >

Many of NYC’s waters are impaired by garbage, oils and other refuse. These pollutants, euphemistically known to water quality advocates as “floatables,” harm water ecology and recreation. They are rampant throughout New York Harbor, in large part due to the city’s separate sewer drainage system, which collects and discharges them directly to our waters. This system is called the “MS4,” short for “municipal separate storm sewer system.”

Separate sewers contribute to water quality impairments throughout the five boroughs by discharging these floatables, along with pathogens, nitrogen and low dissolved oxygen. Our impaired waters--from Bronx River to Jamaica Bay--warrant special protection under the Clean Water Act.

The City must identify green infrastructure opportunities and customize stormwater best management practices to protect them.

Tell the DEC Commissioner that New York’s most vulnerable water bodies need protection.


Read the sample letter (below) and add your own thoughts on why this is important to you. Personalized messages have a greater impact!


  • Basil Seggos, Commissioner, DEC


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Dear  [Decision Maker],

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]