Hudson Valley News
1:58 pm
Tue July 23, 2013

United Water To Respond To PSC Order About Need

Credit Ken Lund, flickr

A number of legislators along with citizens’ and environmental groups are questioning the need for a proposed water supply project in Rockland County. The company behind the proposed project affirms the need is still there, and growing. The state Public Service Commission will decide.  

The New York State Public Service Commission recently announced it had instituted a proceeding to examine the continuing need for United Water New York’s proposed development of a more than $120 million desalination plant. The project is known as the Haverstraw Water Supply Project, and came about after the PSC issued an order in 2006 to United Water to develop a plan to meet Rockland County’s long-term water supply needs. As part of the proceeding, the PSC has directed United Water to file within 30 days of the order a report containing the most recent information relating to projected demand and need to secure a new water supply source in Rockland County. Deb Rizzi is a spokeswoman for United Water New York.

She says new information supporting the need for the new water supply source is contained in documents submitted to the New York State DEC, which is reviewing permit applications for the proposed plant.

The PSC announcement about the proceeding directs United Water respond to concerns and issues raised by public officials and organizations. State Senator David Carlucci, an Independent Democrat, has raised concerns. He praised the PSC action, saying water and water supply are highly important.

The answer, according to United Water’s Rizzi, is yes.

She says to meet the demand, the proposed desalination plant was projected to be online by the end of 2015 or beginning of 2016, but that could be delayed by this proceeding and depends upon what the PSC and DEC decide. She says a delay could mean more out-of-pocket costs for Rockland’s water customers.

United Water recently filed a surcharge request with the PSC for an increase of about $5 per month per average customer, to recuperate money already spent in relation to the proposed desalination plant, a request criticized by Carlucci and other elected officials. Meanwhile, Carlucci says if there is a demonstrated need for a water supply project, he opposes a desalination plant.

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United Water’s proposed desalination plant would treat water from the Hudson River and deliver up to 7.5 million gallons a day of potable water to Rockland’s residents.

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