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Impact Assessment of Natural Gas Production in the New York City Water Supply Watershed

After an 11-month study, the report concludes fracking poses “catastrophic consequences” to the city’s drinking water and should not take place within 7 miles of New York City’s watershed. Hazen and Sawyer (Environmental Engineers & Scientists) for the New York City DEP.

Executive Summary

This report presents the results of an assessment performed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) and its consultants, the Joint Venture of Hazen and Sawyer, P.C., and Leggette, Brashears and Graham, Inc., evaluating potential impacts to the NYC water supply resulting from development of natural gas resources in the Marcellus shale formation. The Marcellus1 shale is one of the largest potential sources of developable energy in the U.S. and covers an area of 95,000 square miles; the New York State portion is  approximately 18,700 square miles. The Catskill and Delaware watersheds that provide 90 percent of New York City’s unfiltered drinking water supply are underlain by relatively thick sections of the Marcellus that are expected to have high gas production potential and be targeted for development. Within the watershed, there are approximately 1,076 square miles that are not currently protected and are potentially available for the placement of well pads, impoundments, chemical storage, and other elements of natural gas drilling.

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