All About Armonk

North Castle Daily News

Checks and Balances for Clean Tap Water
By Louise T. Gantress

March 27, 2014
Saturday, March 22 was World Water Day. It is estimated that 90% of North Castle residents draw water from privately owned, drilled wells. North Castle Water & Sewer Department has jurisdiction over the remaining water supply from the town’s five water districts.

The districts draw water from wells that are owned by each of the town’s water districts. The two Water Districts #4 and #7 serve downtown Armonk’s 431 connections. Windmill Farms Water District #2 serves 372 connections including Coman Hill Elementary School and Brynwood Golf and Country Club. Water District #1 is located in North White Plains and serves 697 accounts. Water District #5 is located in Whippoorwill Hills and serves 118 connections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established guidelines for public drinking water, but these do not apply to private wells. North Castle’s Water Department has no authority over private wells. Private wells are solely the responsibility of the property owners. “I can’t regulate something that’s private,” said Sal Misiti, Director of Water & Sewer Operations. The United States Environmental Protection Agency does not set standards for private wells. Nor does New York State regulate private wells, but it does certify the laboratories which test well water.

In 2007, Westchester County adopted a Private Well Water Testing Law. Administered by the Westchester County Department of Health (WCDOH), this law requires well water be tested prior to the sale or lease of any home served by a private well. Contaminants that are tested for include e-coli, chloride, nitrates, arsenic, lead, all primary organic contaminants, and methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE). Westchester’s law mandates that only certified labs may conduct the tests and that all test results be submitted directly to the WCDOH.

On May 31, the North Castle Water Department will issue an annual water quality report that will be available online and sent to its users. For further information, the Water Department has a brochure, The Value of Water, available online.

The Town of North Castle Conservation Board had an assessment of the Town’s ground water resources done in March 1990: Assessment of Hydrogeologic Conditions.

Map Courtesy of David Rumsey Map Collection,

North Lake Drawdown Postponed

Sept. 14, 2012
At the North Castle Town Board meeting on Sept. 12, 2012, Peter Weiller, a 48-year Windmill resident and member of the Long Pond Association, said that the North Lake Association (NLA) plans to release what might be 41 million gallons of algae-filled water from North Lake. "They seem to think the way to get rid of the algae problem is to pass it downstream to their neighbors. The problem is not only the algae, but the amount of water, Weiller said. Weiller has asked the Town to stop the action and let the NLA know that there may be some liabilities. Weiller added, "If you are going to dump your problems downstream, you are not a good neighbor."

The NLA Board of Directors said they planned to drawdown the North Lake in Windmill Farm to improve the quality of water. The Board says they will not drain the lake until they receive a response from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to determine if the drawdown is environmental appropriate.

"The water in North Lake is safe for swimming, fishing and other recreational activities typically associated with a lake of its size," (approximately 20 acres), says Russ Lewis, Secretary of the NLA. "The water quality of North Lake is rigorously monitored. For at least a decade, limnologists associated with Fordham University's Calder Center, a biological field station located in Armonk, have taken water samples during the course of each swimming season. The water samples are then analyzed in the McCarthy laboratory at the Calder Center. Each year the members of the NLA receive a report on water quality prepared by our limnologist, Steve DiLonardo, M.S. and Dr. John D. Wehr, Professor and Director of Aquatic Ecology, at Fordham University. Dr. Wehr is also the director of the Louis Calder Biological Center in Armonk. The testing assures the members of the NLA that the water is safe to use for recreational purposes."

On September 13, Town Attorney Roland Baroni sent a letter to the President of the North Lake Association, Robert Horowitz. He said several neighbors on Long Pond have expressed concern about the pending drawdown of North Lake. Baroni requested that the NLA postpone the drawdown to permit the Town and a professional hired by the Long Pond Association to investigate these concerns, which they intend to do quickly.

Although drawdowns have occurred many times at North Lake, Baroni says, "this year there is concern because North Lake is experiencing an algae problem, and Long Pond may be adversely affected by releasing a large quantity of troubled water."

"Algae is present in all lakes and algae blooms are common in recreational lakes such as North Lake," Lewis says. "The water in North Lake was treated by a professional lake management company (The Pond Connection) in late August 2012 to reduce a nuisance algae bloom that had occurred. During the past several years, The Pond Connection has also treated the water in Windmill Lake."

Algae blooms and nuisance weeds increase when runoff stormwater enters lakes, because the runoff contains nutrients that these organisms thrive on, such as the nitrogen and phosphorus used in lawn and garden fertilizer," says Lewis.

Baroni says there are 22 homes along Long Pond, and the Town of North Castle owns a substantial portion of the pond too.

"Long Pond also drains to the aquifer for Windmill's water well, so concerns exist there as well," says Baroni.

The action proposed by the NLA is a gradual drawdown that would be performed in the same manner as previous drawdowns. The NLA Board said this would not be harmful to Long Pond.

Russ Lewis said, "The NLA will of course accommodate the Town's request that the NLA defer the drawdown project to permit the Town and Long Pond's professional to investigate their concerns."

"There is no warrant for any action by the Town, and certainly no justification under the circumstance's for the Town to act without permitting the NLA an opportunity to be heard on the matter," added Lewis.

In late 2011, the Town of North Castle began a construction project in an area that included North Lake Road and Pond Lane that may have exacerbated the stormwater runoff phenomenon by using street curbing and stormwater catch basins that drained directly into the lake. When the residents of both North Lake and Long Pond first learned about the Town's project in November 2011, a petition was signed by 38 residents that said:

"It appears that a new drainage system that the Town plans to install on North Lake Road will have a negative impact on the water quality of North Lake as well as on a large downstream area including Long Pond. The drainage system was designed without consideration of its potential impact on North Lake water quality and without any notice to the North Lake Association or to Windmill Farm residents in general.

"The new storm water control system calls for installation of many new catch basins surrounding North Lake, all connected by a new system of underground drain
pipes. The result will be that storm water runoff will be captured much more efficiently and more completely-but then discharged, unfiltered and untreated in any way, directly into North Lake-- thus eliminating the benefit of natural filtration and settlement that now takes place as much of the storm water currently flows over vegetated areas on its way to the lake."

While the road curbing and stormwater drainage projects were begun during the Town's previous North Castle administration, Supervisor Howard Arden is responding to the concerns of the North Lake Association residents to try to minimize the adverse effects of the Town's stormwater drainage project on lake water quality.

According to "North Castle History" published by the N.C. Historical Society, North Lake was created by Dr. Charles V. Paterno.

"Dr. Paterno took tremendous interest in his new farm.... In the early 1930s he implemented marvelous changes: added large new dams to create four beautiful artificial lakes, built a boathouse, created new wells, built working windmills, and erected new buildings to serve the ever-growing farm."

"North Lake has been drawn down (as opposed to completely "drained") on a periodic basis over the last two decades without harming the water quality of other bodies of water, including Long Pond," Lewis adds. "These drawdowns have ranged from two to six feet in depth. The drawdowns serve various purposes, some of which include: allowing residents to do required maintenance on their docks, allowing the NLA to inspect and do any necessary maintenance on the upper part of the (upstream) dam wall, retard the growth of nuisance weeds, perform NYSDEC-required exercising of the release valves, and promote water circulation that is helpful to the lake's ecosystem.

"Before scheduling a drawdown of North Lake this year, the NLA consulted both with its limnologist and with the lake management company that recently treated the lake, to ensure both the efficacy and the safety of the drawdown. In addition, as a further safeguard, on August 11, 2012, the NLA Board voted unanimously to have its engineering consultants seek confirmation from the NYSDEC that the proposed drawdown conformed to all regulatory requirements. That process is underway and no drawdown will occur until it is concluded," Lewis says.

Long Pond is fed by the entire watershed that surrounds it, including water coming from Epstein's Pond, which is owned by the Town of North Castle and feeds into North Lake, North Lake itself, Windmill Lake, and other sources.


Wetland and Open Water Preservation at the Former Armonk Bowling Alley

Dec. 21, 2011
The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP) has presented an application to preserve some wetland through erosion and settlement control on the former Armonk bowling alley site on Old Route 22.

Laura Csoboth, an engineering consultant for NYC DEP says mitigation has been needed because of the impacts on the north shoreline of the Kensico Reservoir watershed in the town of Mount Pleasant. A wide search for property suitable for mitigation in the Kensico Watershed led to the former Armonk bowling alley.

North Castle's Conservation Board Chairman, John Fava, says any disturbance in a wetland buffer area that is within 100 feet of the wetlands requires a mitigation plan to offset the impact on the wetlands. A mitigation plan must have a ratio of two for one: two acres of created wetlands for every one acre of wetland loss.  

The bowling alley parcel is seven acres of land.  NYC DEP bought the bowling alley property plus another 15 acres behind the site from Michael Fareri for over $20 million.

The bowling alley itself was demolished last summer. The footings in the floor of the bowling alley will be excavated and the existing parking lot will be demolished. Permits allow to realign Bear Gutter Creek, which was restructured when the bowling alley was built and now runs along George Smith Place on the periphery of the property. The creek will follow its natural pathway with plantings and deer fencing that will protect the wetlands and it plantlife.

DEP's 22 acres border the Betsy Sluder Preserve. Fava said that the Betsy Sluder Preserve is almost 100 acres of open space that extends from Old Route 22 up to the top of Bear Gutter Creek, which is located in the hills of Whippoorwill.

Councilman Becky Kittredge has asked the DEP to allow public access for hikers on the property to connect to the trails in the Betsy Sluder Preserve . But with over 3 acres of wetlands, Csobeth says it wouldn't be the most walker-friendly terrain.

Supervisor Bill Weaver says there are plans to improve Old Route 22 with on-street parking and sidewalks. Weaver has asked the DEP to consider granting access to a small part of the parcel off of Old Route 22 to allow some off-street parking, since the street can become crowded with vehicles of patrons of the three restaurants there.  The DEP representative said that it would consider an agreement in the resolution that would allow a parking area on their property through a revocable land use permit.

Hurricane Clean Up Around Reservoir
By Charity Lunder

February 7, 2013
At the January 28 North Castle Planning Board Meeting, Amanda Locke, Watershed Forester for the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYC DEP), laid out the plan for clean up and replanting of trees after the heavy damage from Hurricane Sandy. 

The project covers 45 acres of city owned watershed forestland around the Kensico Reservoir, with 37 of those acres falling within North Castle. The objectives are to remove storm debris from the sites, remove unstable trees, and restore forest cover as quickly as possible. The NYC DEP aims to improve aesthetics, reduce safety hazards, stabilize soil and restore water quality protection.

The project will take place primarily on 27 acres along Nannyhagen Road. Other North Castle sites are six acres along King Street and four acres on Route 120. Debris will be removed, along with Norway spruces within 100 feet of the road, to avoid fallen trees blocking the road and knocking out power lines in the future. The trees will be chipped, then spread on the site for erosion control. The area will be seeded, then replanted with a wider variety of trees and shrubs than currently exist, to offer better resistance to storms, insects and disease. At the recommendation of the North Castle Conservation Board, deciduous trees will be planted on the south side of Nannyhagen Road.

Whippoorwill stream stabilization in armonk
Whippoorwill Stream stabilization. Click image to enlarge.
whippoorwill stream shorelines
Existing deteriorating conditions of Whippoorwill Stream shorelines.
Work to be done on Whippoorwill Stream near Nannyhagen Road and Route 128

(Click images to enlarge)

Wed 26 Feb by Michelle Boyle

Bureau of Water Supply New York City Department of Environmental Protection presented a Kensico Action Plan to the North Castle Town Board at the February 25, 2009 Town Board meeting.

The plan includes improvement to the storm water flow and reduction of discharge of pollutants from the Whippoorwill Stream along Nanny Hagen Road and Route 120 bordering both towns of North Castle and Mt. Pleasant. This project is in line with the NYCDEP’s commitment to protect the water supply leading into the Kensico Watershed.

The plan includes building a temporary access road adjacent to the stream off Nanny Hagen Road effecting about 1.5 acres of property. Construction involves a series of in-stream rock or log structures.

The presentation included a plan to remove 70 trees among the site and post construction plan calls for mitigation including deer fencing to protect the new plantings of 160 6-8 feet trees and 300 natural shrubs.

The proposed time frame of construction is to commence July 2009 with a 65 day construction period.  The anticipated construction completion is before October 1, 2009 with the property replanting completion of 2010.

A resident commented that it would be fifty years before the newly planted trees would provide a natural screening of the area and larger trees should be considered.

Town Councilman Gerry Geist expressed concern about the proposed average 3-4 daily truck trips using our local roads from I-684. John Roebig, Sr. Project Manager of HDR presented the project and responded that traffic patterns were the responsibility of the contractors and to be determined by the origin of the construction vehicles.  Ryan Coyne, a town engineer from Kellard Associates, stated that a traffic study should be coordinated.

A Public Hearing has been scheduled for March 25 allowing further public comments.

Read more about Kensico Watershed.

A Strike at the Armonk Bowling Alley

June 24, 2010
by Louise T. Gantress                

    Some of you may recall chain link fencing along Route 120 several years ago. Its purpose was to provide security for the Kensico Reservoir. Eventually taken down, the fence did make residents aware of the interest of both the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the quality of the water in New York City watershed. In 2007 the EPA awarded New York City a ten year Filtration Avoidance Determination (FAD) which freed the City from spending billions of dollars in construction of plants to filter its drinking water. This rare honor is shared by only four other major cities: Boston, Portland, San Francisco and Seattle. In fact, most of southern Westchester County also draws water from Kensico.

    The City has three watersheds to protect: Kensico, Croton and the Delaware. It has committed $541 million to an active acquisition program of three million acres by either paying a fair market price, or through the purchase of conservation easements. The NYCDEP is now engaged in various projects related to preserving the quality of its drinking water and protecting its watershed.  

     An ultraviolet (UV) Light Disinfection Facility is under construction in the Town of Mount Pleasant to treat water from the Catskill-Delaware Aqueducts. This to fulfill conditions and compliance requirements of the 2002 FAD, and is to be completed in November 2010. Construction of this project had an impact on 3.1 acres of wetland and a forested habitat, which must be recreated on another site. After water leaves Kensico Reservoir, it is routed to New York City via aqueducts that pass through Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, 83 and 66 acres respectively. The area is adjacent to the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.

    The proposed mitigation for the UV facility places the mitigating habitat in North Castle. There is to be creation/enhancement of wetland, shrub/grassland creation and upland forest creation. The site, one parcel on each side of Kaysal Court adjacent to the Bowling Alley property, is designed to “emulate a natural, self-sustaining system that is integrated ecologically with its surroundings.” The mix of plantings include canopy trees, understory trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants. The two parcels proved to be archaeologically sensitive and so tests had to be conducted to determine the extent and value of any items found.

    In a separate action the New York City Department of Environmental Protection acquired the Bowling Alley property in 2008. There are actually two projects under way: removal of the three acre parking lot and demolition of the bowling alley building. NYCDEP has received a Negative Declaration (the Neg Dac), as it was determined the proposed plan would not have a negative impact on the environment. NYCDEP does not anticipate any “significant adverse impact on natural resources, water quality, traffic, air quality, noise, neighborhood character, land use, visual character or public health, or other impact categories” as a result of the construction program. Therefore the plan is considered an Unlisted Action and will not require an Environmental Impact Statement. The site is to be restored to its natural, historical condition, including returning Bear Gutter Creek to its original route. Bear Gutter Creek begins on the Betsy Sluder Preserve, crosses under Kaysal Court and onto the Bowling Alley site and eventually flows into Kensico Reservoir. It was rerouted to create the parking lot.

    Construction began with breaking up the parking lot pavement and removing debris off site. Previously, the Town had condemned the bowling alley structure. Included in the overall plan is the demolition of the building, to begin in October, and removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials, which include a ground transformer. Utility lines that serve the property will be removed and capped at the property line. The light posts and large sign will also be removed. All sediment and erosion controls, as mandated by the State, will be in place. Construction and landscaping are planned to begin sometime in 2010 and the project is expected to be completed in 2011.

    NYCDEP is in the process of obtaining permits from the Town of North Castle.  At Wednesday’s Town Board meeting the matter was referred to the Town engineer and wetland consultant as well as to the Conservation Board for consideration of a wetland permit.

North Castle’s wetlands ordinance protects multiple wetlands of all sizes, as well as a surrounding buffer zones or 100 to 150 feet (depending on the steepness of any slopes). However, to successfully protect small wetlands, which often support a unique biodiversity that cannot be found in larger wetlands, one first needs to know where they are located. Broad-scale wetlands maps often fail to identify smaller wetlands and as a result, they tend to “slip” through regulatory “cracks.” North Castle's Biodiversity Plan recommends mapping all wetlands including identification of all small wetlands. This is preferable to identifying wetlands reactively (as development proposals are submitted) and would provide the town's Conservation Board a regional context which will assist them in making informed planning choices. Although a labor- intensive task, mapping vernal pools would be a prudent next step for North Castle to undertake. A volunteer, citizen-scientist mapping program may help to make this a practical task. Procedures and considerations for mapping vernal pools on a town-wide basis are provided in MCA Technical Paper No. 5 (Calhoun and Klemens 2002).

Source: North Castle Biodiversity Plan by Danielle T. LaBruna, M.A. and Michael W. Klemens, Ph.D.
Metropolitan Conservation Alliance, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, New York, Michael W. Klemens, LLC
cranberry lake
Water cascade at nearby Cranberry Lake Preserve.
Cranberry lake
Nearby pond which is part of the quarry of Cranberry Lake Preserve, North White Plains. Photo courtesy of
Kensico reservoir
Nearby 10 acre Cranberry Lake in North White Plains flows to Kensico Reservoir.
Nearby Cranberry Lake Preserve, located in North White Plains, is a nature preserve located off Old Orchard St and Route 22 in North White Plains. Cranberry Lake is the source for most of the stone used to build the Kensico Dam and flows to the Kensico Reservoir. The Preserve is administered by the Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation & Conservation.
The 190-acre nature preserve is comprised of forest, wetlands, and a 10-acre lake. Three miles of trails, including a loop around the lake and others traversing the preserve. Hiking, bird watching, nature studies and cross country skiing.
Ken Soltesz, curator at the Cranberry Lake Preserve, said: ''Biodiversity is very important because the more complete a given ecosystem is, the more stable it is and the better it is for all the species involved. I tell people that our ecosystem is like a fabric. As long as every thread is interwoven and entwined with the others, the fabric -- the ecosystem -- keeps its strength. Squirrels, for example, bury acorns which later become oak trees. But if something happens to disrupt the squirrels, then the acorns don't get buried, and so on.''
Cranberry Lake is home to three very old species of bladderwort. The carnivorous plant, which Mr. Soltesz said dates from pre-human times, lives in water and captures and eats microscopic aquatic organisms as they float by.
''Cranberry Lake is glacially made -- it has been here since the glaciers -- and we have some very, very old habitats,'' he said. ''One of the habitats is called a graminoid fen, which is like a bog.'' Other ancient species found during the study include the white corporal skimmer, a rare and picturesque dragonfly.
Sources: & LYNNE AMES, July 19, 1998 New York Times

North Castle's Waterways
North Castle NY

Talk with North Castle’s Conservation Board Chairman John Fava

By Louise T. Gantress

March 10, 2014
“Water, in both quantity and quality, is the most important concern of the Conservation Board,” says John Fava, Conservation Board Chairman, “because 95% of the town is on drilled wells. Water protection is the main focus of the Board.”

An advisory, volunteer board of the Town the Conservation Board provides information to residents on drinking water protection, surface and groundwater resources, native plants and trees, pesticide use, septic system guidelines, open space and wildlife issues. In its education capacity, helpful bulletins are available on the Conservation Board website  

The North Castle Conservation Board was created in 1975 under New York State enabling legislation for Conservation Advisory Councils and Conservation Boards. The Board reviews all building applications regarding wetlands, and coordinates with the Residential Project Review Committee as well as the Town Board, Planning Board, Town Engineer and the Building Department.

Meetings are held monthly, except in August and December, on the third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m in the Town Hall Annex. Meetings are open to the public. Additionally, Board members go on site walks to view a property that has an application pending before the Planning Board. The Planning Board refers applications to the Conservation Board when a wetland, buffer, or steep slope are in involved in the project. The Conservation Board reviews the project and then makes its recommendations that may involve mitigation during the construction to the lead authorizing agency, typically the Planning Board.

The Conservation Board currently has three openings and is seeking volunteers interested in wetland preservation and planning issues. “No special requirements, education or training are necessary other than being a Town of North Castle resident,” says Chairman Fava.

A volunteer application form is on the Town website. Interested residents should submit their application to the Town Clerk. Approval by the Town Board confirms membership on the Conservation Board.

There are an abundance of waterways in North Castle. The lakes, ponds and brooks include: Wampus Brook; Wampus Pond; Wampus Lake; Wampus River; Byram Lake Reservoir; North Lake: Windmill Lake; Gifford Lake; Long Pond; Converse Lake.

Fishing in armonk and nearby

Fishing is permitted in all the streams and lakes under the control of the Westchester County Parks Department,  except in the nature preserves and where "No Fishing" signs are displayed. There is also a fly fishing area available at Ward Pound Ridge Reservation in Cross River. 

During the winter, ice fishing
is allowed on several lakes, conditions permitting, except in areas specifically designated for ice skaters.  A New York State fishing license is required, which can be obtained through the Town Clerks' Office, Armonk and Westchester County Clerk's office at 914-995-3080.

Information on permits and requirements for fishing in reservoirs located within Westchester can be obtained by calling the New York City Department of Environmental Protection at 914-232-1309.
boating in armonk
Boating is by permit at Wampus Pond.

Wampus Pond, Route 128, Armonk 914-273-3230.  Rowboats are available weekends and holidays, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Boat Rentals

 Playland Park,
Rye 914-813-7010. 
Pedal boats and a lake cruise are located on Playland Lake.  (May  through Labor Day)

Hudson River

, Group kayaking and canoeing tours are available in season. Advance reservations and fees required. Call Hudson River Recreation at 1-(888) 321-HUDSON for reservations.

Boat Launching:
  • Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, 914-862-5290. 
Provides access to the Hudson River and can accommodate sailboards, canoes and car-top carried boats only.  Open April through October, from 8 a.m. to dusk, 7 days a week.
  • George's Island Park, Montrose, 914-737-7530. 
Ramp provides access to the Hudson River and can accommodate boats up to 21 feet in length.  Open April through October, from 8 a.m. to dusk, 7 days a week.
  • Glen Island Park, New Rochelle 914-813-6720/6721. 
Ramp provides access to Long Island Sound and can accommodate boats up to 21 feet in length. 
Open April through October, from 8 a.m. to dusk, 7 days a week.
  • Playland Park, Rye 914-813-7010. 
Provides self-launching access to Long Island Sound for car-top carried boats and kayaks only. Open May through September, 8 a.m. to dusk, 7 days a week. Parking fees apply.

Kensico Dam as it stands today in Valhalla was built in 1916 by the NYC Board of Water Supply.
Kensico Dam as it stands today in Valhalla was built in 1916 by the NYC Board of Water Supply.
Kensico reservoir
The Kensico Reservoir, traveling south on Route 22 looking towards the Kensico Dam.
The Kensico Watershed

December 23, 2008

The Kensico watershed area covers 9.9 square miles or a total of about 6,000 acres including the Kensico Reservoir in the towns of North Castle, Harrison, Mount Pleasant, New Castle and Greenwich, Ct. The reservoir delivers 1.3 billion gallons of water a day to nearly nine million downstate residents. 

The Reservoir holds 30.6 billion gallons of water at full capacity. Nearly 90% of water consumed in NYC flows through the Kensico Reservoir. It is the most densely populated watershed in the Catskill/Delaware system.  Kensico Dam as it stands today in Valhalla was built in 1916 by the NYC Board of Water Supply.

Kensico Watershed Land Use adapted from NYCDEP Kensico Watershed Study, July 1997 
(new developments since 1997 not taken into account):

Commercial/Pave  2.0mi  1,260 acres    20% of land area
Residential            2.9mi  1,848 acres    29%
Open Space          3.9mi    2,436 acres  38.5%
Undeveloped        1.2mi       775 acres  12%

The reservoir receives most of its water from two huge aqueducts that transports water from New York City’s 
six west-of-Hudson Reservoirs in the Catskill and Delaware watershed systems. Upstate water is usually held in Kensico Reservoir for 15 to 20 days before heading south into the smaller Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers for distribution to New York City’s five boroughs, the cities of Yonkers and Mount Vernon and other southern Westchester towns.  The holding period provides an opportunity for settling of impurities, including solids and microorganisms. 

Although pollution runoff is a recognized problem of the reservoir, the quality of water leaving the Kensico 
Reservoir meets the state and federal water quality standards. Warning signs do indicate that preventative steps should be taken to protect the water quality of the Kensico watershed. Water flowing into the reservoir from surrounding properties is responsible for most of the pollution threatening the Kensico Reservoir.    
During the past 40 years, portions of the Kensico watershed have experienced a development boom. IBM’s is one of North Castle’s corporations located in the Kensico watershed. The 450 acre international headquarter complex was built in the 1960s and includes three buildings; the headquarter building of 283,500 sq. ft; IBM Credit Corp. building is 420,000 sq. ft. housing over 1,000 employees; and IBM Learning Center of 130,000 sq ft; plus parking to accommodate 429 vehicles.  

Other significant corporate development projects in North Castle’s Kensico watershed include Swiss Re and MBIA. Swiss Re American Corporate Headquarters site is an office complex of 127 acres and a 360,000 sq. ft building located within 1,000 feet from the Kensico Reservoir. Their underground parking facilities include spaces for more than 1,000 vehicles. MBIA, Municipal Bond Investor Assurance Corporation Headquarters consist of a 235,000 sq. ft. facility. The property is 15.7 acres with on-site parking for 678 vehicles. This property is adjacent to the buffer of the NYC owned property.  

Located in North Castle adjacent to the Armonk Bowl property are three recently built residential communities on Old Route 22 in Armonk; Whippoorwill Hills, Whippoorwill Ridge and Cider Mill.  Whippoorwill Hills is an 82 acre lot developed into 135 of one-and two-family houses and recreation center. Whippoorwill Ridge is a 24 acre parcel with 50-60 individual and multi family units. Cider Mill, the most recent community built was the former 80 year old Schultz’s Cider Mill Farm that is now 27 units in a village like setting.

Intensifying development has New York City Department of Environmental Protection purchasing property in North Castle to protect the water supply in the all-important Kensico Reservoir. The EPA recommended that the NYCDEP protect open space areas by utilizing the Land Acquisition program in Kensico watershed. 

The NYCDEP’s acquisition of Armonk Bowl property is critical to the Kensico watershed to minimize impact of new growth and pollution of the Reservoir. The property includes Bear Gutter Creek, an important waterway leading to the Kensico Reservoir. The creek begins on Whippoorwill Road, runs through a pond on The Sluder 
Preserve, on Old Route 22, and crosses the Armonk Bowl property, under Kasal and Labriola Courts flowing into the concrete detention basin inlet on Route 120 and continuing south passing under Route 22 to the Kensico Reservoir.

According to The North Castle Town Board minutes, The Town Planner, Adam Kaufman suggested that the former Armonk Bowl site be open to the public for recreational use, such as hiking and limited trail development.  NYCDEP responded by letter that it would be inappropriate to plan alternative uses of the site at this time, but that all existing structure and impervious surfaces will be removed. 

Furthermore, Kaufman said that the letter advised North Castle that plans are being considered for “a future wetlands mitigation site in connection with plans for “an I-684/Rte 120 project.” A project was proposed in 1997 and is currently at a stand still with no timetable for completion included The NY State Department of Transportation (DOT) to widen a 1.2 mile stretch of Route 120 from two lanes to a four lane roadway and to expand Route 22 with an additional traffic lane, as well as two paved shoulders and a paved median where the roadway is 20 feet close to the reservoir. According to the NRDC, (Natural Resources Defense Council) 
NYCDEP was cooperating with the DOT by providing the use for watershed land to facilitate the project, but met with objections from many environmental groups.

Information for this article has been taken