Vol. 11, No. 22 Nov. 19 - Dec. 2, 1998


Filtration Exclusive

DEP Official Says Westchester Plant Can Stand Alone
Denies Press Account of Mandatory Bronx Facilities


An official of the city's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is denying comments attributed to him in a Nov. 19 Riverdale Press article. According to that story, Charles Sturcken, a DEP spokesman, said that even if the city decides to build the Croton filtration plant in Westchester, a portion of the project — a pumping station and a treated water reservoir — would have to be built in either Jerome Park Reservoir or at Harris Park.

Sturcken's assertion made headlines because the recently released preliminary draft environmental impact statement allows for other scenarios, including two on the Westchester sites that require no additional facilities aside from the filtration plant itself.

However, in an interview with the Norwood News on Nov. 20, Sturcken denied telling the Press that it would be necessary to build the station and reservoir in the Bronx, even if the plant itself were located in Westchester. Sturcken said he was referring only to a required upgrade to aqueduct pipes that carry Croton water through the borough.

"The pipes right now coming into the Jerome Park Reservoir don't carry that much water," Sturcken said. "You need to adjust the infrastructure to compensate for a filtration plant."

While underground construction would be required to do what Sturcken describes, the scope and environmental impact of such a project is insignificant in comparison with the construction of a plant or the two related facilities.

Pam Frederick, The Riverdale Press' managing editor and the author of thearticle, stood by the story and said she reported Sturcken's statements accurately.

Sturcken's comments to the Norwood News can be compared with similar but less specific statements the mayor made last week at a breakfast for community newspaper editors.

Asked whether it was possible the city would decide to build the filtration plant on industrial sites in Mt. Pleasant or Greenburgh, where it is being welcomed by officials, the mayor said:

"We consider it a strong possibility. ... [But] even if you were able to build a filtration plant there, given the fact that it's somewhat remote, you would still need some kind of facility in the Bronx or in the city so that the water can be treated much closer to the source. But we would have to see what kind of facility that would be. ... Obviously, we understand the concern that people have and if we can solve this problem without becoming a burden on any of the neighborhoods, we would prefer to do that."

The city is expected to announce its preferred site(s) for the Croton filtration plant on Dec. 1.

Ed. note: This story was filed on Nov. 20 and therefore does not appear in the Nov. 19 print edition of the Norwood News.

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