How Poughkeepsie water flows to your tap
WATERTODAY reached out to Randy Alstadt, P.E., Water Plant Administrator.
Here is what we learned.
The Poughkeepsies’ Water Treatment Facility, which is jointly operated by the City of Poughkeepsie and the Town of Poughkeepsie, New York, provides drinking water to 90,000 individuals within the City of Poughkeepsie, Town of Poughkeepsie, the Dutchess Water Authority, and the Town of Hyde Park.
The Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Facility, which is located along the Hudson River within the
Marist College Campus, was constructed in 1962 and upgraded in 2004 and 2016. The Facility is currently rated at a maximum production capacity of 19.3 million gallons per day. The cost of production in 2021 was $1.25 per 1,000 gallons. This equates to 10 gallons of water for one penny!
Where does the water come from?
Our water source is the Hudson River, which originates from the north in the Adirondacks at Lake Tear of the Clouds, located on the southwest shore of Mount Marcy – New York State’s highest peak.
The Hudson River Watershed is very expansive, covering nearly 12,500 square miles, of which the majority is within New York State. However, small portions are located in Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Jersey.
Raw water is taken from the Hudson River adjacent to our treatment plant, approximately 1000 feet from shore, at a depth of 48 feet below the mean river elevation.
Water quality tests have shown the river to be of very high quality.
The Poughkeepsie Water Treatment Facility utilizes a conventional, state-of-the-art, filtration process to treat the water supply. This process includes chemical application of polyaluminum chloride to stabilize the small particles in the raw water supply.
Once stabilized the particles are combined with an organic polymer and previously settled solids, then slowly mixed to form larger particles. The larger particles are then removed through settling. Occasionally carbon dioxide is added prior to this process to aid coagulation for enhanced removal of organic compounds. Following the settling process, ozone is added to assist in the breakdown of organic compounds.
The water is then passed through filters made of biologically activated carbon and sand. These filters help polish the water and reduce the organic compounds that can cause disinfection byproducts when water is chlorinated.
Disinfection, the process used to kill disease-producing organisms, is accomplished through the application of ultraviolet light followed by a carefully monitored chlorination process.
Post-treatment includes the addition of phosphoric acid and sodium hydroxide. Phosphoric acid is added at 2.3 mg/L to reduce corrosion of customers’ lead piping and fixtures. Sodium hydroxide is added when necessary to increase the treated water toa pH of 7.7 in an effort to minimize corrosion of pipes within the distribution system and customers’ plumbing.
To ensure maximum water quality for our customers, the Water Treatment Facility staff monitors the source, treated, and distribution water daily. In addition to continuous plant effluent monitoring for turbidity, chlorine residuals, and pH, approximately 30,000 water quality tests were conducted by the plant staff in 2021. Additional analyses performed on raw water, plant effluent, and/or distribution system samples included inorganic compounds (metals), volatile organic compounds, total trihalomethanes, halo acetic acids, and synthetic organic compounds.
It should be noted that all drinking water, including bottled drinking water, may be reasonably expected to contain at least small amounts of some contaminants and the presence of contaminants does not necessarily indicate that water poses a health risk.
Our water is taken from the Hudson River Estuary, which is subject to increased chloride and sodium levels during low rainfall periods.
A salt front episode is defined by USGS as chloride levels exceeding 100 mg/L. The plant effluent was tested for sodium 13 times in 2021 with values ranging from 14.7mg/L to 41.3mg/L and an average of 25.79 mg/L.
During normal water years, the sodium level varies from 15-25 mg/L with higher levels occurring during periods of low rainfall.
Customers that are on a salt-restricted diet should consult with their physician concerning sodium in their drinking water. Information concerning sodium levels can be obtained at any time by contacting the Water Plant Administrator.
PFAS – The Forever Chemicals
PFAS chemicals are man-made per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances that include PFOA, PFOS, GenX, and many other chemicals.
On August 26, 2020, NYS adopted new requirements for water utilities to begin testing for PFAS chemicals in drinking water. NYS has set the PFOA and PFOS Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) to 10ng/L (nanograms per litre also known as parts per trillion). The plant effluent will be monitored quarterly for PFAS compounds.
The facility adds phosphoric acid at 2.3 mg/L to the treated water in order to protect lead plumbing in customers’ homes. This program has resulted in significantly reducing lead levels in most homes.
Lead present at elevated levels can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women, infants, and young children.
The Poughkeepsie’s Water Treatment Facility is responsible for providing high-quality drinking water but cannot control the variety of materials used in plumbing components. Potential exposure to lead in drinking water can be minimized by running water from the tap for 30 seconds to 2 minutes before using it for drinking or cooking, especially if it has been unused for several hours.
Information on lead in drinking water, testing methods and steps to minimize exposure
Our Report Card
During 2021, our system was in compliance with applicable State drinking water operating, monitoring and reporting requirements.
Although our drinking water met or exceeded state and federal regulations, some people may be more vulnerable to disease-causing microorganisms or pathogens in drinking water than the general population. Immuno-compromised persons, the elderly, and infants can be at risk
EPA/CDC guidelines on appropriate means to lessen the risk of infection by
Cryptosporidium, Giardia, and other microbial pathogens are available from the
Safe Drinking Water Hotline (800-426-4791)
Protecting Our Most Valuable Resource
Everyone can play a role in conserving water by becoming conscious of water usage. It is not hard to conserve. Here are some tips:
We ask that all our customers help us protect our water sources, which are the heart of our community and our way of life.
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