United Water asks county ratepayers to foot $60 million in water treatment bills

United Water New York (UWNY) is asking Rockland ratepayers to pay $56 million in pre-construction costs from its proposed desalination plant, plus $4 million in interest payments. However, when asked for details on the incurred expenses, United Water’s lips remained sealed.

Due to the release of United Water documents only in heavily redacted form, the exact nature of the services rendered remains unknown. According to Municipal Consortium Attorney Daniel Duthie, who is representing several local bodies in proceedings to fight the plant, about $29 million was billed by six separate investors and another $24 million was billed to four engineering and environmental firms. The source of the remaining $10 million in expenses remains unknown.

UWNY Spokesperson Deb Rizzi, the non-disclosure of the expenses is meant to protect the company and its vendors from revealing sensitive financial and proprietary information. However, Rizzi broadly stated the expenses covered activities such as selection, preliminary design and engineering plans, permits and regulatory processes and pilot plant testing.