When the Department of Environmental Protection begins testing its new $3 billion Croton Water Filtration Plant in April, it will not have a backup generator.
The DEP says it doesn’t need one. But the Croton Filtration Monitoring Committee (CFMC), including Councilman Oliver Koppell and Community Board 8 chair Bob Fanuzzi, is concerned that the city might be in trouble during extraordinary circumstances.
State law requires plants like Croton to be equipped with a standby power source in case of an outage, but the state Department of Health made an exception with Croton.
“The state somehow agreed to it. It’s just bizarre,” said Bob Cooney, a retired quality manager for Parsons Transportation.
He initiated the debate over backup power when he sent a letter to the state last year, asking why the DEP was not obliged to have a second source.
The New York State Department of Health makes exceptions to the backup power requirement for plants with a viable alternative, but whether Croton has one is a point of contention.
DEP Assistant Commissioner Michael Borsykowsky said at the meeting that the Catskill Delaware supply would be able to supply the city’s drinking water in case of an outage.
But the committee agreed to send a letter to the DEP requesting more information about its waiver. The DEP’s response also didn’t sit well with Mr. Koppell.
“The whole point of this plant is to be supplementary to the Catskill system. To say that this plant doesn’t need backup power because we can use the Catskill Delaware water doesn’t make any sense,” Mr. Koppell said, laughing part of the time, and mentioning the widespread outages that came with superstorm Sandy.
“It’s important to be able to operate the Croton Water Treatment Plant, especially during the dry season, across the hydrological year. It’s less important to operate it on any given day because the Catskill Delaware system has so much storage,” Mr. Borsykowsky said.