United Water says it has reached a deal with United States Gypsum Company, a subsidiary of USG Corporation, to lease property along the Hudson River as part of the utility's Haverstraw Water Supply Project pilot program.
"This is an important step in the development of this project that will provide Rockland County residents with a safe, reliable, and drought-resistant supply of drinking water and enough to suppress fires when they occur," said Michael Pointing, United Water vice president and general manager. "The lease agreement with United States Gypsum means United Water will be able to move forward with pilot testing this fall."
United Water contends the most cost-effective and sustainable option to meet Rockland's future water needs is to build is a treatment plant that will purify water drawn from the Hudson. United Water has proposed building a plant in West Haverstraw that will produce water that meets or exceeds safe drinking water standards.
A temporary intake structure and pump station will be built for the pilot project on the USG site in Haverstraw.
The state has given United Water approval for the pilot facility to study the treatment processes and energy consumption that will be used in a full-scale water plant and to collect data on water quality. United Water says the results of these studies will be used to design a treatment plant capable of producing up to 7.5 million gallons of drinking water daily.
"Plants like this are used around the world to bring purified water to millions of people every day," said Pointing. "Over a dozen communities along the Hudson already use the river to supply residents with drinking water. Starting this fall the pilot facility will demonstrate how we are building state of the art infrastructure to deliver a pure and safe supply of drinking water and enough to support a thriving, sustainable community."
RenewHaverstraw, a Haverstraw civic group, is sponsoring a public forum on the United Water project on Sept. 21.
The forum, "Who Benefits from the Proposed Desalination Plant," is designed to educate residents and open a dialogue about the plan to use the Hudson as a source of drinking water and the impacts of the proposal, according to RenewHaverstraw's Sean O'Malley.
The forum is scheduled to include comments from Haverstraw Town Supervisor Howard Phillips Jr., Bob Dillon of the Rockland Water Coalition, and a summary of the U.S. Geological Survey's five-year scientific study of Rockland's water supply. O'Malley said United Water declined to participate in the forum.
While United Water sees the Hudson as a necessary source to meet future water needs, opponents of the desalination plant such as the Rockland Water Coalition contend that there are better alternatives available.
O'Malley said the forum will be an opportunity for questions and discussion of the pros and cons of the water project, including its projected environmental impact, its impact on water rates, future water needs, tax increases, and tax income. O'Malley said
O'Malley said RenewHaverstraw believes it is vital the public hears from both sides of the issue so they can make an informed decision and express their opinions to the Town of Haverstraw officials who are responsible for reviewing the project locally.
The Sept. 21, forum is set to being at 7:30 pm at the Harbors at Haverstraw Social Hall, 1000 Round Pointe Drive —Harbors Cafe Building— in Haverstraw. O'Malley said seating is limited to 100, so those who wish to attend the forum are advised to RSVP by calling 845-429-1894.
RenewHaverstraw was formed in March 2009 to be an integral part of Haverstraw's revitalization and community efforts.