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October 21, 2010


Farrell Sklerov / Michael Saucier (718) 595-6600

DEP Completes Key Milestone for Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility

First UV Disinfection Units Installed; Project Will be Largest of its Kind in the World

Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway today announced that DEP has installed the first ultraviolet disinfection (UV) units at the new Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility under construction in Westchester County. The $1.6 billion facility, located on a 153-acre property in the towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh, will provide enhanced disinfection for the Catskill-Delaware water system, which currently provides 90% of the drinking water for nine million New Yorkers.  Each of the UV disinfection units will be able to treat up to 40 million gallons of water per day. The project currently employs 400 workers on site, and, when completed in 2012, will be the largest ultraviolet disinfection facility in the world.

"Mayor Bloomberg has committed an unprecedented level of resources to protect, treat, and distribute the drinking water that nine million New Yorkers rely on every day," said Commissioner Holloway. "The Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility is one of the most significant projects undertaken in the history of New York City's water system, and will provide a level of protection that will ensure NYC Water remains as safe, healthy, and delicious as it is today for generations to come. I would like to thank the many people who are working hard to complete this project, which is critical to making sure that New York City remains one of only five large cities in the country with an unfiltered drinking water supply."

Site preparation for the Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility began in 2006 and construction of the facility began in 2008. When completed in 2012, the facility will be able to treat over two billion gallons of water per day. The current phase of work includes the installation of the rest of the UV units along with associated 48-inch diameter piping and valves; the installation of the main electrical switchgear; and the connection of approximately 3,000 feet of treated water piping into the Catskill Aqueduct.

The 56 UV units consist of stainless steel disinfection chambers, each chamber holding 210 UV lamps that will treat the water as it passes through. The flow through the facility will be controlled by a series of 84-inch diameter valves that have been specially manufactured for the project. Approximately 75% of the estimated 130,000 cubic yards of concrete has been placed for the project. All water flowing through the system is conveyed by gravity.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency now requires that all surface drinking water be filtered. Due to the city's $1.5 billion overall investment in watershed protection programs, the federal government allows New York City to continue receiving unfiltered drinking water from the Catskill and Delaware watersheds — a status that only five large cities in the country share. This unique status prevents the City from being required to build a filtration plant that could cost $10 billion or more. Catskill-Delaware water is already disinfected with chlorine, and the new UV facility, once completed, will provide a federally-required secondary level of disinfection against potentially harmful microbiological contaminants such as Cryptosporidium and Giardia, though these pathogens do not currently pose a risk to New York City's water supply.

DEP manages the city's water supply, providing more than 1 billion gallons of water each day to more than 9 million residents, including 8 million in New York City. New York City's water is delivered from a watershed that extends more than 125 miles from the city, and comprises 19 reservoirs, and three controlled lakes. Approximately 7,000 miles of water mains, tunnels and aqueducts bring water to homes and businesses throughout the five boroughs, and 7,400 miles of sewer lines take wastewater to 14 in-city treatment plants. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/dep or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nycwater.

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