NY Commission acts on green building initiative
The New York State Public Service Commission has ruled that Applied Water Management Inc., which designs, operates, and owns storm and wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, and water reuse systems, is exempt from regulation as a waterworks corporation, thereby making it easier and more cost-effective for the company to provide its specialized brand of services to building owners...
• Ruling helps promote water reuse in New York City project
ALBANY, NY, Jan. 16, 2008 -- The New York State Public Service Commission (Commission) has ruled that Applied Water Management Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of American Waterworks Company Inc. and an affiliate of the Long Island Water Corporation, which designs, operates, and owns storm and wastewater collection, wastewater treatment, and water reuse systems in newly constructed or renovated residential buildings certified as environmentally designed, is exempt from regulation as a waterworks corporation, thereby making it easier and more cost-effective for the company to provide its specialized brand of services to building owners.
"This ruling is another example of the Commission's effort to proactively identify innovative ways to help improve the environment and save our precious resources," said Commission Chairman Garry Brown. "Finding and promoting ways to reuse water is a trend that we hopefully will be seeing more of in the future. Such activity has the potential to save energy, reduce pollution, and help create a more sustainable environment."
Applied Water's systems involve an on-site wastewater and stormwater collection system, treatment facilities, and non-potable water reuse systems integrated into the building's structure to produce reclaimed water that is distributed to residents for non-potable purposes, such as irrigation, flushing, and cooling processes.
These systems used by Applied Water are primarily in connection with construction of buildings that comply with the U.S. Green Business Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards and goals for water efficiency in environmentally responsible residential buildings.
The company's petition noted that Applied Water designed and built wastewater reuse systems for two multi-family buildings in Battery Park City and operates the systems pursuant to contracts with the building owners. According to Applied Water, these systems result in approximately 50% reduction in water use in certain buildings.
In making its determination, the Commission found that Applied Water's systems are solely relegated to services provided on private property within the confines of a multi-family or condominium building. Second, no distinction based upon condominium interest would necessitate regulation under the Public Service Law because one ownership entity retains interest in the land upon which the building is constructed. Third, Applied Water is akin to a subcontractor for provision of services required by a condominium complex and its residential occupants. In addition, Applied Water supplies limited water for specialized uses; its reused water service is an alternative to the provision of water by the main provider, New York City.
For these reasons, the Commission declared that Applied Water's operation and ownership of its water reuse distribution system, under contractual arrangements with the building owner, is exempt from our jurisdiction as a waterworks corporation under the Public Service Law. This approach is consistent with other decisions on the regulation of water service and electric service providers.
A copy of the Commission's written decision in Case 07-W-0180, when issued, will be available on the Commission's Web site: www.dps.state.ny.us (see the File Room section on the homepage)