May 8, 2015: Croton Water Filtration Plant Activated; 1961: First Practical Seawater Desalination Plant

May 8, 2015: Croton Water Filtration Plant Activated. “Largest Underground Filtration Plant in the United States has the Capacity to Filter up to 290 Million Gallons of Drinking Water Each Day;  Will Protect the City against the Possibility of Drought and the Effects of Climate Change

Photos of the Project and Maps are available on DEP’s Flickr Page

New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Emily Lloyd today announced that the $3.2 billion Croton Filtration Plant was recently activated and water from the Croton water supply system has been reintroduced into the city’s distribution network for the first time since 2008.  Built beneath Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, preparatory site work and excavation for the 400,000 square foot facility began in 2004.  Construction commenced in 2007 and, at the height of the work, roughly 1,300 laborers were on-site.  In addition to building the plant, the 33-mile long New Croton Aqueduct was rehabilitated and three new water tunnels were constructed to bring water to the plant, and then from the plant back to the distribution system.  With the capacity to filter up to 290 million gallons of water a day, the state of the art facility can provide roughly 30 percent of the city’s current daily water needs.

‘The activation of the Croton Filtration Plant marks a significant moment in the history of New York City,” said DEP Commissioner Lloyd.  “The Filtration Plant will help to ensure the city has a safe and reliable supply of drinking water in the event of a future drought, provide critical flexibility as we deal with the effects of a changing climate and allow us to make needed repairs to other parts of the water supply system.  All New Yorkers should raise a glass of New York City tap water today and recognize the thousands of workers who have contributed to the completion of this critical facility.’”

Commentary: The Croton water supply was first inaugurated in 1842 as an unfiltered water supply. Check out the October 14 post in this blog for some details. Shooting off 100 cannon is a great way to celebrate a new water supply. Follow this link to a brochure describing the project that is located below ground. The photo above shows the golf course and park that are built on top of the plant.

Seawater Desalination Plant (Evaporation Method), Freeport, Texas

May 8, 1961: Office of Saline Water, U.S. Dept. of the Interior opened first practical seawater conversion plant in U.S. in Freeport, TX; designed to produce about million gallons of water a day at cost of about $1.25 per thousand gallons; the large-scale evaporation method used then replaced by reverse osmosis as scientific advances have produced special polymers suitable for use as filtering membranes.

Commentary:  Looks pretty clunky compared to today’s technology.

Reference: “Business History.” Website http://www.businesshistory.com/index.php, Accessed November 14, 2012.

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