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Town of Newburgh, N.Y., provides clean drinking water to area residents under EPA agreement
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the town of Newburgh, N.Y., completed the construction of a drinking water treatment plant that will deliver a reliable and clean source of drinking water to local residents under the terms of a 2008 legal agreement between the town and EPA. The agreement was reached after the U.S. Department of Justice filed a complaint on behalf of EPA alleging various violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act. It required the town to build the Delaware Aqueduct Tap Water Treatment Plant, pay a fine and complete three other environmental projects that provided sewer service to previously unserved Newburgh residents and protected water quality. The new drinking water treatment system was completed in November 2013, and the last of the three projects was completed in February 2014.
The new drinking water treatment plant, which is now part of the Newburgh Consolidated Water District, began operating in November 2013 and serves 22,800 people in Newburgh. The plant draws water from New York City’s Delaware Aqueduct and uses microfiltration technology to treat the water. Prior to the violations that lead to the 2008 settlement, Newburgh was not required to filter its drinking water.
In addition to building a new treatment plant, the 2008 agreement required that Newburgh complete three additional and important environmental projects. The town recently completed the last of the three projects — the extension of a sewer line that will bring sewer service to approximately 30 lots on North Carpenter Avenue and West Stone Street. The town has installed approximately 1,700 ft of sanitary sewer along these streets to permit properties to connect directly to Newburgh’s sewer system. The town spent $450,000 on this project.
The town of Newburgh previously completed two other environmental projects under the terms of the 2008 agreement. In 2010, it purchased $440,000 worth of vacant undeveloped properties in the Chadwick Lake Reservoir Watershed to help protect water quality in the Chadwick Lake Reservoir. The town also has replaced all the existing catch basins that empty into Orange Lake in Orange County, N.Y., at a cost of $22,000.
The 2008 agreement between EPA and the town of Newburgh settled a complaint issued because, on a number of occasions between 2005 and 2007, Newburgh’s drinking water exceeded maximum contaminant levels for chemical contaminants that are byproducts produced when drinking water is disinfected. Filtration cuts down on the amount of disinfection generally needed and alleviates this problem. In addition, the complaint charged that the town failed to comply with an EPA administrative order requiring it to monitor drinking water quality and report the monitoring results to the Orange County Department of Health. The complaint also addressed a failure to provide the required notice to the public on each occasion that its drinking water exceeded the maximum contaminant levels for disinfectant byproducts.