A $1.3-billion water filtration plant for New York City will go forward after New York Gov. George E. Pataki (R) signed legislation clearing final obstacles late on July 22. The city entered a consent decree in 1998 to filter the 10 percent of its supply that moves through the Croton Reservoir. Rudolph Giuliani (R), mayor at the time, entered a consent decree with the federal government after the city incurred more than $400,000 in fines.
Preliminary plans call for much the plant to be constructed under a public golf course in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. Residents of the surrounding neighborhood oppose the project, or at least its siting. They have filed several lawsuits. Assemlyman Jeffrey Dinowitz (D), warns that the plant "is going to be an environmental disaster."
Pataki's political allies pushed a go-ahead measure through the state Assembly on July 10, but the governor threatened a veto after it appeared that he would have no say in possible alternative site selection of mitigation measures to public parklands.
The compromise, reached near midnight on the last day of the legislative session, earmarks about $243 million for mitigation of parks in the Bronx and mandates environmental studies for two alternative sites, in Westchester County and along the Harlem River in New York City.
New York City uses about 1 billion gal per day of water. The Croton Reservoir supply , with source waters on the hghly developed east sidef of the Hudson River, oten requires a more robust chemical disinfection and algal control treatment scheme than the 90% that moves through the Catskill-Delaware system. Filtration of the Cat-Del water would require a much larger plant, costing an estimated $6 billion to $8 billion. The city secured its second five-year waiver for Cat-Del filtration from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last winter (ENR 12/2/2002 p. 7). The city adopted a number of watershed-based quality controls, including upstate land acquisition and tertiary treatment to small municipal wastewater treatment plants.