By early June, New York City will determine where a billion-dollar water treatment facility will be built. Recently, the project has been opposed for fear that the construction will mean "the decline of forests, fields and wetlands surrounding the 12 reservoirs in the two counties," reported an article in The Journal News.
However, NYC's Department of Environmental Protection reported that the watershed would not be abandoned because to do so would degrade the water supply, the article read. To let the watershed go, would mean having to build a bigger filtration plant.
The EPA instructed the city in 1993 to build the plant by 2011 in order to protection the drinking water supply. The watershed's suburbanization threatened water quality and although the water remains safe to drinkg, there occasionally are aesthetic concerns and the addition of chlorine, which create the need for the filtration plant. Opponents still believe that repairs to the current system will amend the problem.
The new Croton Water Treatment Plant will provide drinking water for more than 900,000 residents. Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx is the preferred site thus far--fully supported by DEP, Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Gov. George Pataki and the state Legislature.
Eric Goldstein, senior attorney for the Manhattan-based Natural Resources Defense Council said, "From a public health standpoint, the overwhelming independent scientific consensus is that filtration is a necessary and beneficial step to safeguard a water supply in an overdeveloped watershed. The Croton water supply needs both filtration and aggressive watershed protection efforts," the article reported.