September 12, 2023 12:10 PM

The Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) hosted Tom Dobbins, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA) for a visit of its facilities. Dobbins was named CEO of the organization in 2022 and visits with member organizations to understand their challenges. AMWA is an industry group that represents the interests of the largest metropolitan drinking water suppliers across the country. Their membership serves more than 160 million people across the United States with drinking water.  


SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeff Szabo joined Dobbins on his tour, saying “It was a thrill to welcome Tom to Suffolk County and show him what we do best at SCWA, provide our customers with high quality public drinking water. He brings a wealth of knowledge on how the navigate the intricacies of Washington, so we are glad to have him representing the interests of our customers.” 


One of the joys of my position is being able to go around the country and learn what water providers are doing to serve their customers,” said Dobbins. “The customers of the SCWA should have confidence in the quality of their water. The extensive laboratory they use to constantly test is truly impressive. I would encourage everyone to take a tour of the education center to see what great work they are doing.”  


During the visit, Dobbins toured SCWA’s education center in Hauppauge to learn the history of SCWA and about the unique challenges of serving water exclusively sourced from Long Island’s aquifer. He also visited SCWA state-of-the-art water quality testing laboratory to view the robust operation used to test more than 90,000 samples each year.  


Dobbins had the opportunity to visit one of SCWA’s 242 well fields to see first-hand how SCWA pumps and treats water before serving it to customers. The site features Granulated Activated Carbon (GAC) vessels that treat for PFAS, a contaminant that has been found in Long Island’s aquifer due to the industrial pollution. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) this year proposed the first national drinking water standard for two PFAS compounds. New York has had a standard for those compounds since 2020. 


“We have been at the forefront of removing PFAS from drinking water. We have been testing for it since 2013 and are surpassing the strict standards for removing it set by the state,” added Szabo. “Showing a national organization like AMWA what we are dealing with on the ground will help them understand the challenges we face every single day. That allows them to represent the interests of our customers even better. 


SCWA is the only drinking water provider on Long Island to be included in AMWA’s membership. AMWA recognized SCWA as a leader in the industry in 2019 when it awarded it the Sustainable Water Utility Management Award and in 2016 with a Platinum Award for Utility Excellence. 


About 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. 


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