April 5, 2017 03:12 PM

The Suffolk County Water Authority Board has unanimously approved operating and capital budget for the fiscal year ending May 31, 2018 that keep costs down but also fund key initiatives vital to protecting the safety and availability of Suffolk’s public water supply.

Key infrastructure projects in the spending plan include funding for the first-of-its-kind in New York State Advanced Oxidation Process to remove the unregulated contaminant 1,4-dioxane from groundwater. The SCWA Board several years ago also authorized funding for a pilot project to seek innovative ways to remove the contaminant from the water supply—even absent a regulation. The success of the early pilot project led to the full-scale AOP system that was approved by the state last fall, built at SCWA’s Commercial Boulevard pump station. It is expected to be fully operational and ready to be tested by mid-April.

"We have high expectations that the system will remove approximately 97% of 1,4-dioxane from the water supply and will serve as a model for other water suppliers to follow," SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey W. Szabo said.


SCWA's Advanced Oxidation System at the Commercial Blvd. Pump Station in Central Islip

The 2018 budget will also continue funding to address another unregulated contaminant that has been detected in groundwater in the Westhampton area, PFOS. When SCWA’s voluntary testing began to show detections of this chemical, the Authority invested in Granular Activated Carbon treatment for the area, and, as a result, PFOS has been non-detect in the distribution system since the GAC treatment went into service. In addition, SCWA has also funded—with the expectation of being reimbursed by the federal government—the hookup of dozens of area residents using private wells to the public water supply.

On the North Fork, where water pressure can be a significant issue, particularly during the spring and summer lawn watering and farming seasons, SCWA made a substantial investment that will improve pressure to customers in this area. The 2018 budget cycle will see the complete construction of a new two million gallon storage tank at SCWA’s Laurel Lake property to help meet demand on the North Fork.

As always, these budgets seek to cut costs and find efficiencies wherever possible to keep water rates among the lowest in the country, an effort reflected in a recent study that identified SCWA as among the 10% least expensive large water suppliers in the country. This past fall, SCWA became one of only approximately 75 of 20,000 water suppliers nationwide with two AAA ratings from the major credit-rating agencies.

"We’re proud of our low rates and our stellar bond ratings," Szabo added. "We’re confident these budgets will pay great dividends in the coming fiscal year and beyond."

The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York.  Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.

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