Westchester’s commissioner of environmental facilities, Thomas Lauro, is pushing the Board of Legislators to approve $4.7 million in bonding to bring water treated at New York City’s ultraviolet treatment plant to the northern part of Water District 1 so the fix can be in place by spring.
If the board delays its approvals, he said, the county could miss the construction window over the winter and be forced to wait another year. That could exacerbate problems the county is facing with the Environmental Protection Agency, which wants the county to enter into a consent decree to rectify a violation of the rules requiring UV treatment of drinking water by April 2012.
“If we delay it’s going to be a problem,” Lauro said.
Board members said at a meeting of the Government Operations Committee Tuesday that they want to move the project but have questions that need to be answered first. Westchester Joint Water Works has concerns about the water pressure in its system in Harrison, the town and village of Mamaroneck and parts of Rye and New Rochelle and legislators are looking for assurances they will be addressed. The Westchester Health Department has cited the water works for low pressure in the past, its officials said.
Yonkers officials have also indicated concerns, though more about communication than technical matters.
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Environmental facilities officials said though they are waiting for a hydrological analysis on the pressure issues, they need the bond act to begin ordering complicated equipment. The Board of Legislators has a meeting scheduled for Aug. 12 and the committees will meet again next week to try to move the bond act forward.
As an aside, Anthony Conetta, the manager of Westchester Joint Water Works, said the water pressure problems, which are worst in the mornings in the summer, could be solved if homeowners and landscapers watered lawns in the evening instead of in the morning.
Photo: Workers work in the ultraviolet chamber of the new DEP Ultraviolet plant Jan. 13, 2012 in Mount Pleasant. ( Joe Larese/The Journal News )