The Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) announced that it recently completed eight new Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) water treatment systems throughout the Town of Huntington. These state-of-the-art treatment systems are specifically designed to remove the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane from the SCWA supplied drinking water. SCWA worked to install them ahead of a state regulatory deadline on August 25th, ensuring that customers continue to have access to high quality drinking water.
SCWA Chairman Charles Lefkowitz noted the significance of the announcement, stating “The accomplishment of getting these systems online cannot be understated. This technology was developed by SCWA, we were the first to get state approval and now we are getting these systems online to meet state standards ahead of this important deadline. We promise our customers that we will supply them with high quality drinking water and this announcement shows that we are delivering.”
Prior to having these systems in place, SCWA had to make significant operational changes to restrict the operation of impacted wells to minimize the public’s exposure to these contaminants. With the new treatment systems in place, the affected wells are now returned to regular service, easing those strains on the infrastructure and thus restoring robust operation to the SCWA system.
The newly operational treatment systems were partially funded with assistance from New York State. SCWA was awarded grant funding by the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act in 2019 and 2021. In total, $7.2 million in assistance was awarded by the state for these projects.
AOP was first developed for use in New York by SCWA to destroy 1,4-dioxane in drinking water. They work by adding a small amount of an oxidant into the water—in this case hydrogen peroxide—that passes through an ultraviolet light reactor destroying the 1,4-dioxane molecules. From there, the water then travels through two Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) filtration vessels—industrial-sized carbon filters, which hold 20,000 pounds of carbon medium each—so any remaining detections of the oxidant as well as other volatile organic compounds can be removed before water goes through the rest of the treatment and delivery process. This treatment process duo is the only method approved by state and local health departments to remove 1,4-dioxane.
“This is a great moment for water treatment and overall water quality for the Huntington community,” said SCWA CEO Jeffrey Szabo. “But our work is far from over as we currently have nine more of these treatment systems under construction throughout Suffolk County and many more in the planning stages, with the hopes of bringing each of them online as soon as possible.”
State Senator Mario Mattera said, “As a proud former SCWA Board Member, I was there when this process began to protect Suffolk County residents and it is wonderful to see this great work continue. Thanks to the diligent efforts of CEO Szabo, the entire board and workforce, including the hardworking men and women of Utility Workers’ Union of America Local 393, SCWA customers and future generations will continue to have access to clean and safe drinking water for all of our families.”
Assemblyman Steve Stern said. “I am proud to join with the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) to announce this critically important infrastructure project to address emerging contaminants like 1-4 Dioxane in drinking water in the Town of Huntington. Along with legislation to ban future use of these dangerous chemicals, this is an important step in ensuring that we protect our precious sole-source aquifer, and our drinking water now and for generations to come.”
Assemblyman Keith Brown said, “The Suffolk County Water Authority’s (SCWA) completion of these water systems will provide Huntington residents with safe, reliable drinking water for years to come. Minimizing exposure to contaminants found in our water is critical for public health, and it is reassuring to know the SCWA will continue to have the backs of Long Islanders well into the future. I applaud the SCWA’s efforts to complete these state-of-the-art water treatment systems and it has my full support with regard to the numerous water treatment systems either planned or under construction in my district and beyond.”
Legislator Stephanie Bontempi said, "The Suffolk County Water Authority has been at the forefront in the fight against 1,4-dioxane in our drinking water. I have seen their operations personally and was thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of the workers and their commitment to our health. By doing their homework, the Suffolk County Water Authority discovered a problem, devised a plan and implemented a viable solution. This is how all business for the public should get done."
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment said, “This is real progress! Long Island had the highest levels of 1,4-dioxane in drinking water in the nation, now we are at the forefront in the fight to filter our water from emerging contaminants. The more research done on these emerging contaminants, the more we learn they are incredibly toxic and ubiquitous in our environment. The Suffolk County Water Authority is moving swiftly to address the urgent need to filter our water and provide safe, clean water for Suffolk residents. SCWA’s work installing state-of-the-art Advanced Oxidation Process and Granular Activated Carbon treatment systems to remove 1,4-dioxane and PFAS chemicals is crucial to protecting public health and illustrates their compelling commitment to residents. We are thrilled with this meaningful progress.”
About the Suffolk County Water Authority
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.