Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, (D-Bronx-Westchester), hailed the federal Environmental Protection Agency's recent decision to drop its mandate that a $1.6 billion cement dome be constructed over the Hillview Reservoir in Yonkers.
In dropping the mandate for the dome, the EPA said the situation is now under review.
Senator Klein is opposed this rate-payer funded project, which, in an Aug. 19 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, he called costly and redundant.
“This is a victory for New York City ratepayers, Yonkers residents, and for common sense,” Senator Klein said. “This project cost too much and would have placed even more strain on residents who have already had to deal with skyrocketing water bills. I look forward to working with Senator Schumer and our other federal and local representatives to find a new solution that addresses everyone's concerns.”
The project would have increased water bills by an estimated 3 percent.
Senator Klein also said that the justification for the project is questionable.
The EPA had sought to build the dome over the 90-acre reservoir in order to stop pathogens from entering the water system, which serves more than 9 million residents daily. The agency pointed to data showing some 3,500 cases of cryptosporidiosis, a microbe that generally causes mild stomach pain, but can be life threatening to people with compromised immune systems.
However, the city's Department of Environmental Conservation recently released a report finding an average of only 100 cases of cryptosporidiosis per year – most of which are not related to drinking water.
The city is also in the process of building the Catskill-Delaware Water Ultraviolet Distinction Facility in Westchester County. This facility will use ultraviolet light to purify water, killing pathogens that cause cryptosporidiosis and other illnesses. This project makes the concrete dome redundant.
A copy of Senator Klein's letter is enclosed.