April 12, 2019 01:13 PM

Suffolk County Water Authority and Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer, chair of the Legislature’s Health Committee, on Thursday announced the imminent construction of a new Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) water treatment system to be installed at SCWA’s Flower Hill Road pumping station in Halesite. 

The AOP system is designed to remove the currently unregulated contaminant 1,4-dioxane from drinking water. It will become the third AOP system in operation for SCWA, joining the existing system in Central Islip and another soon to be constructed system in East Farmingdale. 

"Though this compound is not currently regulated at the federal or state level we’re proactively installing AOP treatment at priority locations," SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin said. "This pump station on Flower Hill Road was a priority for us given the levels of 1,4-dioxane detected by our laboratory."

"The emerging contaminant 1,4- dioxane has been a deep concern of mine as a local legislator. I am thankful for the Suffolk County Water Authority's partnership and willingness to confront this complex water quality and safety issue," said Legislator William Spencer. "Their swift action to install this innovative technology at the Flower Hill pump station in Huntington, the third site in Suffolk County, demonstrates their ongoing commitment to protecting our drinking water." 


From left: SCWA Director of Producation Control Mike O'Connell, Chairman Patrick Halpin, Suffolk County Legislator Dr. William Spencer, SCWA Board Secretery Jane Devine, Director of Water Quality and Laboratory Services Kevin Durk at SCWA's Flower Hill Road pump station in Halesite

The three wells at the Halesite pump station averaged a detection of 2.02 parts-per-billion of 1,4–dioxane, with well #1 having the highest detection at 3.84 ppb. The New York State Drinking Water Quality Council has recommended 1,4-dioxane be regulated statewide at a level of 1 ppb, but this recommendation has not to this date been enacted by the NYS Department of Health.

AOP works by introducing an oxidant to the raw groundwater, in this case hydrogen peroxide, then passing that mixture through an ultraviolet light reactor. The ultraviolet light reacts with the oxidant to destroy the 1,4-dioxane molecules, then the water is passed through a carbon filter to remove the peroxide and any by-products from the reaction.

Costs to install an AOP treatment system exceed $1 million, which does not include annual costs to maintain the system. In an effort to defray these costs, SCWA has filed lawsuits against the chemical companies responsible for polluting Long Island’s sole source aquifer.

"It’s important that we take a proactive approach to removing these types of contaminants, but our ratepayers should not have to bear those costs," SCWA Board Member and Huntington resident Jane Devine said. "They should not have to pay for the reckless behavior of companies who either knew or should have known about the effect this compound would have on groundwater."

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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