Water Source Protection is More Effective than Filtration
June 19, 1997
The Croton Watershed Clean Water Coalition (CWCWC) an alliance of more than twenty community and environmental organizations, has filed for intervenor status in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (USEPA) and the N.Y.S. Department of Health's (NYSDOH) lawsuit against the N.Y.C. Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP) requiring that it filter its Croton water supply system. The Croton System's watershed lies in Westchester and Putnam Counties and, in times of drought, supplies up to 30% of the City's water.
The CWCWC is asking to intervene to represent the interests of the consumers and rate-payers in the City distribution system and of residents of the Croton watershed. Its members share the belief that it is far more effective and cheaper to protect water at its source than to try and clean up pollution after it has occurred. Natural methods to prevent pollution of drinking water have been extensively tested and described by the EPA in its guidelines on reservoir protection.
"Croton water still fulfills all federal criteria for safe drinking water," says CWCWC president Marian Rose "and, with proper protection, could continue to do so."
Tina Argenti, President of the Friends of the Jerome Park Reservoir, pointed out that: "Neither the state nor the federal government have conducted the environmental impact review which is required under federal and state law in conjunction with their demand for filtration. No study has ever shown that the Croton needs to be filtered."
Recalling that over 100 deaths and 400,000 illnesses resulted from a malfunctioning, state-of-the-art filtration plant in Milwaukee in 1993, Paul Moskowitz of the Friends of the Croton Watershed adds: "We are against filtration at any site, whether the Bronx, Yonkers or the Croton. Filtration is an excuse to allow the degradation of the water supply."
The CWCWC comprises housing and community organizations, as well as Sierra Club and Audubon groups that extend from the Bronx and Manhattan through Westchester and Putnam Counties, and state-wide. It has over 100,000 members.