Top officials marked a major milestone today with a ribbon-cutting ceremony that announced the opening of the High Falls drinking water plant.
Alan J. Steinberg, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 2 Administrator, was joined by Congressman Hinchey, Colonel Tortora of the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers, Marbletown and Rosendale Town Supervisors Martello and Gallagher. Representatives from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York City Department of Environmental Protection were also on hand to mark this occasion. The completion of the drinking water plant ensures that the High Falls Water District will provide clean drinking water to serve the needs of more than 425 residents and a number of businesses in Marbletown and Rosendale.
The drinking water treatment plant occupies approximately 7 acres of land on the 14.5-acre Mohonk Road Industrial Plant site located at 186 Mohonk Road.
Well water was affected by contaminants related to past industrial activities at Mohonk Road Industrial Plant site, which included metal finishing, wet spray painting, and manufacturing of computer frames, card punch machines and store display fixtures. NYSDEC began investigating the site in 1994, and found that ground water was contaminated with VOCs. To address immediate health threats, the NYSDEC installed carbon filters on private wells where the levels of contaminants in the water exceeded New York State drinking water standards. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites in January 1999, and in June of that year the agency began to build a system to pump the most highly contaminated ground water out of the ground and treat it. This system began operating in May 2000, and since that time has treated over 45 million gallons of contaminated ground water.
In August 2005, EPA and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) began construction on the drinking water treatment plant and water distribution system for the High Falls Water District. In addition to the construction of the treatment plant, connection to the Catskill Aqueduct, which is part of the New York City reservoir system, owned and maintained by New York City, was accomplished on April 5, 2006. The aqueduct provides the untreated water.
A stringent sampling and monitoring program has been established to ensure that the treated drinking water meets all state and federal safe drinking water standards. Operational testing of the water supply system was completed September 19, 2007, and was authorized for public usage by the New York State Department of Health, in cooperation with the Ulster County Department of Health.