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Greenburgh Looks for Water District Guidance

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – With water rates on the rise and an infrastructure overhaul looming, town officials are looking for some guidance.

On Wednesday, the Greenburgh Town Board is expected to pass a resolution that would create a water advisory committee.

If approved, the group would give the board suggestions on how to handle the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District's multimillion-dollar debt, suggest future rate increases and outline potential projects within the district.

Supervisor Paul Feiner said that ideally, the roughly seven-member committee would be made up of a mix of corporate representatives and private residents with expertise in water.

The Coca-Cola bottling plant, the town’s largest water user, has agreed to be represented on the board, Feiner said.

The supervisor said that may help build a bridge of communication between the town and Coca-Cola, which objected earlier this year when the district raised its water rates .

“It would show that we’re not just going through the motion here but we are serious about keeping them involved,” he said Tuesday during a Town Board work session.

Last week, a citizens advisory panel recommended the board create a water committee for the Greenburgh Consolidated Water District.

In its report, the committee noted that the existing water infrastructure, which includes nearly 130 miles of water mains, several pump stations and six water tanks, is functioning but in need of both short- and long-term repairs.

Much of the system, which delivers nearly 7 million gallons of drinking water to 40,000 town residents every day, is well beyond its useful life, they said.

“The Town of Greenburgh water infrastructure, like most municipal systems in the U.S., is aging rapidly and silently, buried below and not plainly visible,” the report stated, adding later that “without careful planning and re-investment, we are headed for a crisis.”

And as early as 2020, New York City will shut down the district’s primary water source, the Delaware Aqueduct, to perform repairs and upgrades.

The Delaware system may be shut down for several years, and Greenburgh does not have the necessary infrastructure to supply the district’s water demands from its secondary source, the Catskill Aqueduct, the committee found.

It recommended the board begin planning for the future shutdown immediately.

“While there is time to implement the necessary infrastructure for the District to reliably supply the entire demand, the evaluation and studies need to begin in the short term,” it reported.

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