JULY 12, 2013

Bedford’s clean water answer man

We asked and he answered. Bedford’s commissioner of public works, Kevin Winn, read a recent Record-Review editorial (“Tapping in: a century later,” June 14) on Katonah’s new $22 million water filtration plant, which is now bringing New York City’s reservoir water to the Consolidated Water district, serving 7,000 people in Katonah and Bedford Hills. Using ultraviolet disinfection, chlorination and microfiltration, the plant provides clean drinking water for town residents and is permanently connected to the DEP’s nearby Delaware water supply.

“Since your editorial basically ended with many questions, I’d answer what I could,” Mr. Winn said in a phone conversation. “In essence, we’re really excited to have the project completed and delivering high-quality water to the town.”

How will the town dispose of the waste from the filtration plant itself, which includes sediment, algae, bacteria, parasites and the potentially harmful giardia cyst and cryptosporidium, which must be disposed of properly?

Mr. Winn: The waste will be taken to a wastewater treatment plant at the prison, which we are doing. The waste is taken by truck to the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility treatment center, about 1,000 gallons a day, about a truckload a week. Some of it is liquid, some of it is cleaning solution from the membrane, which is acid and base, which neutralizes itself, and some chlorine. About 4 percent is solid, it looks like tea. There are two separate waste streams; the liquid and solids go separately to their tanks. The liquid is treated with a wastewater treatment, processed, and discharged into the water supply. The solid is hauled separately to their solid tanks.”

Will costs meet or stay within estimates or will Consolidated Water District residents be burdened with unforeseen expenses?

Mr. Winn: At this point the project is 99 percent complete and within budget, and I don’t see any reason why it should exceed budget. It was $22 million even. It’s about $200,000 under budget now, which could be used for upcoming expenses. We have an agreement with the department of corrections where they’re paying one-quarter of expenses because they’re becoming a customer. The capital side will be paid through water bills, because we borrowed on it, and it will be paid off in 20 years. We pay per gallon to the city. That’s not part of the construction side, that’s part of the operating side. They are already metered, it will be part of the metered bill.

What is the anticipated upcharge?

Mr. Winn: The rate structure has not yet been determined because we wanted to establish a more conservation-oriented rate structure, but in general it will go up about 20 percent, or $80 a year.

Will the full system changeover proceed as scheduled?

Mr. Winn: In a year our intention is to go entirely to DEP water. That remains an open question. We have to prove the automation to the health department and work with them. That’s going to be a back and forth. The process is we demonstrate its automation by checking alarms and intentionally causing failures and making sure the plant is responding appropriately, and we document that to the health department and, based on that documentation, they permit us to run without having staff there 24/7.

The city is having a big shutdown in 2020 or 2025, so they are requiring that we keep the redundancy of the existing wells in case they need to take us off that supply. We’re talking about the existing groundwater wells in Katonah and Bedford Hills. There are three.

Will the vows of limited development by the hamlets of Bedford Hills and Katonah be compromised with the availability of clean water sources?

Mr. Winn: The development aspect is related more to the wastewater side than the water side.

For more information, call Mr. Winn at 666-7855 or visit bedfordny.info.

Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

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