New York is set to open the world’s largest ultraviolet (UV) drinking water disinfection plant in two months in order to rid the city’s drinking water of cryptosporidium, giardia and other harmful pathogens. The Catskill–Delaware Ultraviolet Disinfection Facility will be equipped with 56 massive UV units which will be used to kill waterborne pathogens in water from the city’s major sources – the Delaware County and Catskill watersheds. When it is activated in two months, the plant will process up to nine billion liters of H2O daily.
By using UV light to clean the city’s water, the plant will act as a “second cleaning step” after a first chlorine phase.. The UV rays will damage the DNA of cryptosporidium, giardia and other organisms that cause nausea, cramps and diarrhea. In the past, the Delaware–Catskill watersheds have not required filtration or multiple methods of disinfection, but this has all changed in recent years thanks to the EPA’s more stringent regulations. There has also been increased development around these bodies of water over the past decade, which has prompted the city to add more protection against potentially disease-causing microorganisms.
The new facility will cost $1.6 billion and be located 50 kilometers north of Manhattan on 62 hectares in the towns of Mount Pleasant and Greenburgh in Westchester County, N.Y. The plant will be operated by Trojan Technologies, Inc., the wholly-owned subsidiary of Danaher Corp., which built the facility.
Trojan’s previous experience includes the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s Tesla Treatment Facility, which opened in July 2011. The $114-million project is California’s largest UV water disinfection facility and treats up to 1.2 billion liters of water per day for the Bay Area from the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park.
The UV plant was selected as the best possible ‘second layer of protection’ as it was cheaper and less environmentally-damaging than a second filtration facility with layers of sand, gravel and charcoal.