The Rockland County Legislature’s Environmental Committee wants the New York State Public Service Commission (PSC) to reopen its proceedings from 2006 on the county’s water supply. The legislature’s possible passage of a resolution would support the request of Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee asking the PSC to reassess its decision.
The PSC process resulted in United Water being told to develop new water sources. In response, the utility evaluated several alternatives for supplementing Rockland’s water supply and proposed the Hudson River desalination plant.
Committee Chairman Alden Wolfe said there is new information for the PSC to consider.
“I think the data that decision is based on was flawed,” said Wolfe on Wednesday.
He referred to information that United Water has released more supply from Lake DeForest than realized and a geologist’s study of the county’s water supply.
“We know now that United Water had periodically made releases from Lake DeForest that skewed the numbers,” said Wolfe.
He said a study conducted by the U.S. Geological Service showed Rockland had more supply than anticipated.
In the second matter related to Rockland’s water supply, the committee will discuss a resolution to ask the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to allow additional public input on the desalination plant. The resolution would have the DEC require an administrative law hearing and an issues conference about the water treatment plant proposed for Haverstraw.
“It would allow the public to raise any issues of concern before an administrative law judge, an impartial judge,” said Wolfe.
He said a hearing would give the hundreds of people who were unable to speak at the March public hearings in Garnerville, a chance to voice their opinions. Wolfe also said the hearing would address whether all viable options for increasing the county’s water supply were equally evaluated.
If the committee approves both resolutions, they will be added to the agenda for next week’s meeting of the entire legislature. United Water has been asked for its reaction to the proposed resolutions.
Additionally, committee members will discuss the Algonquin Gas Transmission Corp. facility adjacent to Kakiak Park in Montebello. Algonquin previously filed a request with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to expand the pipeline facility and according to Wolfe has received approval for expansion.
When Algonquin filed for FERC approval to enlarge its facility, legislators requested the agency to require the company Algonquin to create a secondary access route. Wolfe said the FERC did not address that request even though the facility is near a residential neighborhood and Viola Elementary School. He said Algonquin installed a temporary bridge for the construction and the committee will ask that it be made permanent.
An Algonquin representative and R. Allan Beers, coordinator of the county’s Division of Environmental Resources, are expected to attend the meeting.