NYC Officials Announce Completion of Catskill/Delaware UV Facility

Last week, New York City Deputy Mayor Cas Holloway and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Carter Strickland announced the completion of the world?s largest ultraviolet (UV) treatment facility.

Ultraviolet light is a relatively new and revolutionary method for treating drinking water and the $1.5 billion Catskill/Delaware UV Facility will provide an added layer of protection against pathogens and other harmful microorganisms for the drinking water consumed by more than 9 million residents of New York City and portions of Westchester County.

The 270,000 sq-ft facility is designed to treat more than 2 billion gallons of water each day, more than three times the capacity of the next largest municipal UV treatment facility in the United States, which is currently under construction in Los Angeles.?Since 2002, the Bloomberg Administration has invested well over $10 billion in water supply and distribution infrastructure to ensure the livability of the city for present and future generations.

?Like the Delaware and Catskill aqueducts before them, the opening of the largest ultra-violet disinfection system in the world is the first milestone in the fundamental transformation of New York City?s water supply led by Mayor Bloomberg over the past decade,? said Holloway. ?New York?s water is the best in the world, and now every gallon that travels from the upstate watershed to the city will be treated with ultra-violet light, providing an extra level of protection to the 9 million people and businesses that rely on our water supply every day. This long-term investment will ensure that New Yorkers can rely on their fresh, clean, great-tasting water supply for generations to come.?
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?More than 9 million New Yorkers rely on DEP to provide more than a billion gallons of high quality drinking water every day of the year, and the UV facility will play a key role in helping us fulfill that mission,? said Commissioner Carter Strickland. ?Mayor Bloomberg has made historic investments to ensure that our water supply remains pristine and the UV facility will provide an added layer of protection to ensure that, like the rest of the city, our drinking water is world class.?

The new UV facility will provide treatment specifically for Cryptosporidium and Giardia, naturally occurring microorganisms that can be found in surface waters and can cause gastrointestinal ailments in humans. As a result of increased awareness following a 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee, new federal regulations for treating drinking water were created due to the fact that Cryptosporidium is resistant to disinfection with chlorine.?

Through a series of studies conducted in the late 1990s by the Water Research Foundation, with funding contributed by New York City, researchers discovered that exposing water to low levels of ultraviolet light was effective at rendering Cryptosporidium and Giardia harmless to humans.

New York City recognized the value behind the scientific studies and took a proactive approach by committing to build the UV facility in 2002, prior to the establishment of a new U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rule that required such treatment for surface water supplies.?Construction of the Catskill/Delaware UV Facility commenced in 2006, it began treating water in late 2012, and construction is now substantially complete. As drinking water passes through the facility it is exposed to UV light that destroys the genetic code of the microorganisms, rendering them unable to reproduce or cause infection.?The facility has 56 UV units, each of which contain 210 lamps, for a total of 11,760 UV bulbs.

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