New York City added a new protective shield to its drinking water supply infrastructure today, as City Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland cut the ribbon on a $1.6 billion dollar ultra-violet disinfection plant on city-owned land in Westchester County.
The new plant is designed to offer another level of protection for water from New York City’s Catskill and Delaware systems reservoirs, which supply drinking water to more than 9 million New Yorkers – nearly half the state’s population.
On a typical day, the UV plant is expected to treat between 800 and 1400 million gallons of water funneled into it from the City’s nearby Kensico Reservoir. Its maximum design flow is 2 billion gallons a day; according to city officials, no other similar facility in the world is anywhere near as large.
In the disinfection process, water from the city’s Catskill and Delaware system aqueducts will flow through one of 56 giant units that will expose the liquid to ultra-violet light. The ultra-violet treatment interferes with the ability of microbial contaminants like cryptosporidium and giardia to reproduce. This UV technology, which has long been used in wastewater disinfection settings, doesn’t affect taste or otherwise pose a risk to the public. The UV disinfection treatment will supplement the city’s other water protection programs, including chlorination and watershed protection, which have for years provided city water drinkers with high quality drinking water that meets federal Safe Drinking Water Act requirements.
Source: NRDC by Eric A. Goldstein