Government

DEP Proposes Chemical Treatment to Control Invasive Weed in Reservoir

34a6f1eda39ea41638cb_58756.jpg
A dense mat of hydrilla in the Croton River. The invasive weed has spread to the Croton Reservoir. Credits: Department of Environmental Conservation
34a6f1eda39ea41638cb_58756.jpg

YORKTOWN, N.Y.-Looking to stop the spread of a weed that has made its way into the Croton Reservoir, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection is seeking the town’s approval to treat it with a chemical-based product.

Much of the reservoir, which supplies drinking water to the city, is infested with hydrilla, a federally listed noxious weed, which means it’s illegal to import or transport between states without a permit.

“It can affect water quality and taste and odor of the water as the plant decomposes,” said Meredith Taylor, an invasive species biologist for the Department of Environmental Protection.

Sign Up for E-News

Taylor met with the Town Board last week because the city is launching a pilot program to control the hydrilla, which was first discovered in 2013 in the state-owned Croton River. Water flows from that river into the Amawalk Reservoir, which supplies a portion of Yorktown’s drinking water. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has already started treating the infestation with fluridone.

Hydrilla is an aquatic weed from Asia that, according to the Department of Environmental Protection, is one of the most difficult aquatic invasive plants to control and eradicate in the United States. The plant was discovered in the Croton Reservoir in 2014, and the city hopes to treat it with the same chemical, Taylor said.

“It’s mostly in the downstream portion of the reservoir, but the density and spread of infestation is increasing,” she said. “We really are running against the clock here to control it. So, we’re hoping to move forward with a pilot project this year.”

One of those pilot areas is in Yorktown, which would need to grant a wetland permit before the city can begin treatment in May or June. If successful, the city would launch a full-scale control program later this year.

“If we don’t do the control work, we risk letting the plant spread into our unfiltered drinking water supply, where we have fewer options for dealing with it,” Taylor said.

Taylor said experts agree that fluridone treatment within the reservoir is “safe, effective and the only option we have for controlling hydrilla long-term.” The chemical has been used in other drinking supplies throughout the country, including in California.

“We hope that this project shows that the treatment can be done effectively, [and] that the chemical is not spreading into our intakes and into distribution,” Taylor said.

The fluridone product the city would use is called Sonar H4C. Taylor said it is a granular product, and the pellets, which look like rice, would be spread across the sediment within the reservoir.

“They don’t dissolve very quickly, so they don’t release very much chemical at a time,” she said. “It maintains a very low dosage in the water.”

Taylor said the product has a “very low toxicity” and comes with no water-use restrictions for swimming, boating or fishing. She said that it is not possible to physically remove the weed.

“The plant is very fragile, so as soon as you go to remove it, it breaks into pieces and each piece is reproductively active, so you end up spreading it further,” she said.

Supervisor Ilan Gilbert advised Taylor and the city to move forward with applying for a wetland permit, which requires a public hearing.

Councilwoman Alice Roker said she wants to do her own research on the chemical.

“I think it’s important that people in this town understand what’s going to happen,” Roker said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

I Do Not Make Stuff Up!

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote in my column, “Watergate analogies apply to Obama, not Trump,” that President Obama’s Justice Department planted a spy in the Trump campaign. I said I used the term “spy” because this was a counter-intelligence operation, not a criminal investigation, where the term informant would have been proper.

That statement has been brought ...

Interview with Senate Candidate, Robert Kesten

The seat in the 40th Senate District of New York, currently occupied by Republican Sen. Terrence Murphy, is up this year. Senator Murphy, who has announced he is seeking re-election, has already started campaigning. On the Democratic side, newcomer Robert Kesten entered the race. Challenging him for the Democratic nomination is former county Legislator Peter Harckham. Kesten and Harckham will ...

What Kind of Sports Parent Are You?

Social media recently showered a lot of likes and love on a high school pitcher in Minnesota whose team was playing in a regional final that would send the winning team to the state championship game.

After the last batter of the game struck out, the pitcher did something unheard of. Rather than spontaneously join his teammates in an on-field celebration, as is customary, the pitcher ...

I Come from the Land Down Under

I know this is a family column, so I’m going to put this in as delicate terms as possible.

This morning I woke up and I knew, as sure as the sun shines over Bora Bora, that something was very, very wrong in that place in my body where the Bora Bora sun doesn’t shine.

It’s that place I used to refer to my daughter as her hoo-hoo. But it certainly wasn’t a happy ...

Andy’s at It Again

June 13, 2018

A couple of years ago, I wrote to question why Andy wasn’t citing his sources when he flings dirt at any Democrat he wants to malign.

Well, he’s at it again. In the latest iteration, he tells us that Obama was responsible for putting a spy in the Trump campaign. He then repeats himself three more times to emphasize his point, but gives no proof or evidence to back up the ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_ab074581ce7911e17b64_postcard_kickballside

Thu, June 21

Navajo Field, Yorktown Heights

2018 Kickball Registration is Open! Meet, Greet ...

Sports

Thu, June 21, 7:00 PM

NY-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital, Cortlandt Manor

Book Club for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Fri, June 22, 9:00 AM

Fourth Unitarian Society of Westchester, Mohegan Lake

Giant Church Tag Sale

Community Calendar

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Results

June 15, 2018

Sunday, June 10  - The Yorktown Crew clinched the Westchester Youth Soccer League JV-1 Division with a 4-3 win over Rivertown FC on Sunday. The team has been on a remarkable run for the past 2 seasons with a team record of 16-1-1. Sunday’s matchup vs Rivertown had a championship like atmosphere as Rivertown trailed Yorktown by 1 point in the standings. The Crew worked hard all week in ...