Gov. George Pataki approved legislation for a $1.3 billion, 48-acre water filtration plant, reported an article in the Staten Island Advance. The plant will be constructed under Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, and will save up to $600 million by constructing it there instead of in Westchester County.
The filtration plant will be constructed in order to rid Croton watershed of contaminants that it is prone to due to the highly populated area surrounding it. The plant will help meet the EPA's mandate that water be filtered from the Croton system, which usually serves 10 percent of the city's drinking water, but during a drought it serves 30 percent. The federal Safe Drinking Water Act requires nearly all surface water systems such as Croton to be filtered to avoid the risk of disease.
Pataki had previously been concerned that people living in the area may be negatively affected by it construction that may cause environmental damage.
The Staten Island Advance quoted Pataki as saying he had received assurances from Mayor Michael Bloomberg that the project would undergo an environmental review, and he was reassured by the city's decision to tackle parklands in the Bronx by making more than $240 million in improvements.
"I'm confident that, working together, we can continue our historic efforts to provide clean and safe drinking water for the people of New York while ensuring that the children and families of the Bronx are able to live, work and play in the clean, safe environment they deserve," Pataki said in a statement.
The DEP selected the golf course in 1998 from among eight locations in the city. Bronx residents protested, saying the city had not properly considered alternatives.
The Staten Island Advance reported that three conservation groupsthe Natural Resources Defense Council, Environmental Defense and the New York League of Conservation Voterssaid they each were convinced the plant is necessary for public health.