$440 million rate plan focuses on water quality and service reliability
SUEZ water co. announced that the New York Public Service Commission has approved a Joint Proposal that includes a comprehensive $440 million investment program. “New York is rebuilding after a difficult, often heart-breaking crisis, but the people of this state are driven and resilient. They will rise to this challenge,” said Chris Graziano, vice president and general manager. “These uniquely challenging times have reinforced the critical need for safe, reliable drinking water. Now is the time to invest in New York and its residents.”
The $440 million investment plan represents an average investment of $3,667 per customer. The average annual residential bill that includes a daily adjustment of $0.15 cents in Rockland and Orange counties; $0.11 cents in the City of Rye, and the villages of Rye Brook and Port Chester in Westchester; $0.03 cents in other parts of Westchester and $0.04 cents in the former Forest Park system in Putnam County. Customers in Tioga County will continue with their current rate plan with no additional adjustment. All rate adjustments to customers have been postponed to October due to the pandemic.
Graziano said, “While we are announcing today a large-scale plan that will result in a number of significant customer benefits, we understand the financial hardship this pandemic has caused. We have worked with the Public Service Commission to delay rate adjustments until October to lessen the immediate impact on customer bills.”
As the state re-emerges from the health crisis, infrastructure projects are set to sweep across New York that include an aggressive effort to replace critical water mains and add cutting-edge water quality treatments:
• As part of a phased-in plan to replace 1 percent of water pipes annually, residents throughout the state will benefit from over $150 million in investments to renew some of the oldest pipes in the company’s New York service territory.
• $50 million will be dedicated to improve water quality and operations at the heart of the company’s Rockland County water system, the Lake DeForest Water Treatment Plant in West Nyack. This first phase of upgrades will include the installation of Ozone and Powder Activated Carbon (PAC). These treatments will address seasonal algae in the reservoir that can lead to taste and odor issues and will help to reduce unwanted disinfection by-products. New filter beds and electrical equipment will improve operational performance.
• Over $30 million in chlorine disinfection improvements will help maintain strong water quality for Westchester customers and meet changing regulations. Additional treatment will be installed at the Central Avenue and Troublesome Brook Pump Stations to ensure proper chlorine contact time is achieved prior to distribution.
• Over $80 million has been set aside for service line installations or replacements, meter replacements, emergency water main repairs and hydrant replacements.
• The company will invest more than $10 million to expand and enhance SCADA systems to secure water supplies and meet all cyber security requirements.
• Widespread upgrades to existing water storage tanks, booster pumps, wells, and water supply dams.
“These extensive upgrades to New York water infrastructure will have long-lasting impacts on the communities we serve,” Graziano said. “They will not only bring enhanced water quality and service to our customers, but they will sustain jobs in a state that has been sorely hurting.”
Al Samuels, president/CEO of the 900-member Rockland Business Association (RBA), is pleased with the announcement. “This Joint Proposal fully recognizes the extraordinary, long-term investment by SUEZ in Rockland County’s water infrastructure,” said Samuels. “With over $50 million in water quality improvements at Lake DeForest and an accelerated program to replace water pipes, Rockland residents will not only benefit at their taps, but the local economy will keep churning. Investing in infrastructure, especially now, gives us a much needed boost.”