So a good 50 or so people gathered at the Suffern Library just a few hours ago to participate in a program on the status of Rockland’s water supply.
The speakers included William “Willie” Janeway, who directs the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3 office; United Water New York spokesman Steve Goudsmith; and Alison Keimowitz, a geochemist with Columbia Universityâ€™s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades.
Here’s a meeting photo by George Potanovic, a photographer who is also president of the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment, that shows Nisan Banin, of Stony Point, asking Goudsmith (left) and Janeway a question.
Janeway told the crowd that the state planned to look at any projects that came before it “holistically.” Too many times in the past, projects were located at in isolation, without considering the wider picture.
His remarks were partly made in connection to United Water’s plan to build a Hudson River water treatment plant.
The company announced in 2006 that it intended to build the plant and deliver the water to its Rockland customers.
Some of those customers raised issues, directing to the questions to Goudsmith.
Among the questions:
Salt & power: Marjorie Rothenberg, of Suffern, wanted to know how the company would return salt removed from the river water back to the Hudson in low concentrations if it didnâ€™t heavily water it down. She also wanted to know how much electricity the plant would require. Goudsmith said he’d get the answers.
Waste place: Susan Filgueras, of the Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment, wanted to know where the waste from the treatment plant would be sent.
Goudsmith said the Joint Regional Sewer Plant, but Filgueras said that wasnâ€™t possible because the plant was virtually at capacity.
Why not Ambrey?: Potanovic, the director of SPACE, wanted to know how the company determined that building and operating a plant was cheaper than building a reservoir at Ambrey Pond in Stony Point. Goudsmith said the companyâ€™s analysis showed it would be cheaper. He also said obtaining the necessary permits to build a dam at Ambrey would be challenging.
New Jersey concerns: Patsy Wooters, co-chair of the Torne Valley Preservation Association, wondered if more water might be released from Rockland reservoirs into New Jersey if the plant was to be built. She wanted to know if our Garden State neighbors would pay less for their water, since it’s source would be rain and melted snow, whereas at least some of Rockland’s water would come from a more expense source.
Janet Burnet, director of the Ramapo River Watershed Intermunicipal Committee, wanted to know if United Water New York and United Water New Jersey spoke to each other, in terms of taking a regional approach, when trying to address water concerns.
Goudsmith said everybody was looking for more water supply and that UWNY/UWNJ did what benefited their individual companies. He said UWNJ customers would likely see increases for water just like everybody else as the company worked on its supply.
If you’d like more details on the meeting, see my story in today’s issue of The Journal News, or look under the Rockland news section on this web site.
Also, check back later for info from Janeway on how much New York does — or rather, doesn’t — spend on environmental programs such as reimbursing municipalities for upgrading their sewer treatment plants.