January 4, 2017 04:47 PM

With the assistance of a New York State program, the Suffolk County Water Authority has begun a system-wide upgrade of its network of backup generators.

The generators, located at many of the Authority’s more than 230 pump stations, ensure that water service is not disrupted during severe weather events or other emergencies. These upgrades include new generators for previously unserved well fields and replacement generators for sites that had access to backup power already. The upgrades were made possible through funding from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation though its Storm Mitigation Loan Program (SMLP).

The program publically finances drinking water infrastructure projects that provide for the installation or remediation of back-up generators or alternative energy sources that service critical process equipment, among other projects. SMLP funds are available as 25% grants and 75% zero-interest loans.

"Upgrading and replacing our older generators is a crucial part of making sure we’re prepared for any kind of emergency," said SCWA Deputy Chief Executive Officer for Operations Joseph Pokorny.

"As units age, they often lose the ability to carry all of their original rated pumping capacity," said SCWA Director of Production Control Michael O’Connell. "Sometimes this can be rectified by servicing and tune-ups, but often the problem is just age related, resulting in the deterioration of internal components."


SCWA Chief Engineer Timothy Kilcommons, P.E. in front of one of the new generators at the Authority's Albany Avenue pump station in Amityville

 According to O’Connell, the new generators will be greener and more fuel efficient. Several are also significantly larger than their predecessors, allowing them to run additional wells. These critical upgrades will save the Authority and its customers money by increasing efficiency and vastly improving reliability, keeping water flowing to customers even during power outages.   

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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