NYC Opens World's Largest UV Drinking Water Treatment Facility

The $1.5 billion Catskill/Delaware UV Facility provides treatment specifically for Cryptosporidium and Giardia microorganisms. New York City officials committed to build the facility in 2002, before EPA issued a rule requiring such treatment for surface water supplies.

New York City officials, including Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland, have cut the ribbon to open the world’s largest ultraviolet drinking water treatment facility. The $1.5 billion Catskill/Delaware UV Facility provides treatment specifically for Cryptosporidium and Giardia microorganisms in the drinking water consumed by more than 9 million residents of the city and parts of Westchester County. The 270,000-square-foot facility is designed to treat more than 2 billion gallons of water each day, more than three times the capacity of the next-largest municipal UV treatment facility in the United States, which is under construction in Los Angeles, according to DEP.

"Like the Delaware and Catskill aqueducts before them, the opening of the largest ultraviolet disinfection system in the world is the first milestone in the fundamental transformation of New York City's water supply led by Mayor Bloomberg over the past decade," said Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway. "New York's water is the best in the world, and now every gallon that travels from the upstate watershed to the city will be treated with ultraviolet light, providing an extra level of protection to the 9 million people and businesses that rely on our water supply every day. This long-term investment will ensure that New Yorkers can rely on their fresh, clean, great-tasting water supply for generations to come."

"More than 9 million New Yorkers rely on DEP to provide more than a billion gallons of high-quality drinking water every day of the year, and the UV facility will play a key role in helping us fulfill that mission," Strickland said. "Mayor Bloomberg has made historic investments to ensure that our water supply remains pristine, and the UV facility will provide an added layer of protection to ensure that, like the rest of the city, our drinking water is world class."

A 1993 Cryptosporidium outbreak in Milwaukee caused new federal regulations for treating drinking water to be created, because Cryptosporidium is resistant to disinfection with chlorine. Researchers then discovered that exposing water to low levels of UV light makes Cryptosporidium and Giardia harmless to human beings.

The Catskill/Delaware UV Facility 2006 began treating water in late 2012 as its construction continued; the construction is now substantially complete. The facility has 56 UV units and 11,760 UV bulbs overall.

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