Desalination proposal in New York rejected by state officials

Plans from United Water New York for a new 34,000 m3/day desalination plant to supply potable water from the Hudson River have been blocked by the state utility regulator...

Nov 14th, 2014
Hudson Web

Plans from United Water New York (UWNY) for a new 34,000 m3/day desalination plant to supply potable water from the Hudson River have been blocked by the state utility regulator.

In a statement, the New York Public Service Commission said there was “no longer an immediate need for a new water supply”.

However, it advised that a “new water source could be required at some future time” and that UWNY should “commence work immediately to develop alternatives to meet the region’s water supply needs”.

The Commission said that by 2035 approximately 22,730 m3/day of additional water supply will be needed.

It was back in 2007 when United Water submitted the proposal for the Haverstraw Water Supply Project to the Commission. Plans included the construction and operation of a new water intake, intake pumping station and water treatment facility.

Costs for the 34,000 m3/day project were estimated to be between the $139.2 million to $189.3 million range.

Then in 2012 the State Department of Environmental Conservation accepted the draft environmental impact statementprepared by the utility, moving the project onto the public consultation period.

Since its inception, the Haverstraw project has attracted vociferous objection from local environmental groups, including Riverkeeper and the Scenic Hudson.

Chair Audrey Zibleman from the Commission said: “Our determination today is that changed circumstances obviated the immediate need to develop a new source of supply. At the same time, because this need can arise again in the near future, it is crucial that the company, in conjunction with the local community and the Commission, explore and adopt all reasonable actions to defer the need for new supply and explore opportunities for alternative sources.”

In a statement United Water New York said: “United Water looks forward to working with the Commission Staff, the Rockland Water Task Force, elected officials, the business community and other stakeholders to develop a plan to meet the county’s water needs. The company is open to new ideas and potential new solutions.”

UWNY is a private investor-owned water company with Suez Environnment as the parent company.

The utility provides drinking water to the residents and businesses in Rockland County, excluding the Villages of Suffern, Nyack and South Nyack. It also serves a small portion of Orange County in parts of the Towns of Tuxedo, Warwick and Monroe.

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