Regulation of Drilling

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Effective Date: 
Monday, July 22, 2019
Agency:
Download Copy of Adopted Rule (.pdf): 

Statement of Basis and Purpose

Section 1403(a) of the Charter of the City of New York provides that the Commissioner of Environmental Protection (“Commissioner”) has “charge and control of: [a]ll structures and property connected with the supply and distribution of water for public use not owned by private corporations,” and authorizes the Commissioner to make and enforce rules and regulations “governing and restricting the use and supply of water.” Section 24-302 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York directs the Commissioner to “maintain, preserve and repair all structures and all other property connected with the water supply.” Section 3304.3.3 of the New York City building code requires notification to the New York City Department of Environmental Protection prior to commencement of any proposed soil or foundation work, for any purpose, to a depth greater than 50 feet (15 240 mm) in the borough of the Bronx or on or north of 135th Street in the borough of Manhattan, or greater than 100 feet (30 480mm) in the borough of Brooklyn, Queens, or Staten Island or south of 135th Street in the borough of Manhattan. Section 24-367 of the Administrative Code requires approval by and a permit from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection for any such work that the Department determines is in close proximity to its critical infrastructure.

These rules accomplish these purposes and enable the Commissioner to protect New York City’s water supply infrastructure by adding a new Chapter 57 to Title 15 of the Rules of the City of New York. Chapter 57 sets forth uniform standards to govern the permitting of drilling and excavation operations in close proximity to the Department’s and Water Board’s water tunnels and shafts in the five boroughs of New York City. The rules protect the tunnels and shafts from potential damage due to drilling and excavation by putting in place a formal process through which the Commissioner reviews all proposed drilling and excavation work and ensures that there is no such work done in close proximity to critical infrastructure. The rules establish a permitting process for drilling and excavation, standards for such operations, insurance requirements, conditions under which the Commissioner may approve a variance, and penalties for non-compliance with the rules and permit conditions. The rules do not apply outside the five boroughs of New York City.