Tarrytown, Sleepy Hollow and Briarcliff Manor have extended and activated new levels of cooperation. Driven by the shared effects of electrical and water interruptions due to storms and other events, the three Villages understand full well the need to work together. Steered by Briarcliff Manor,
major efforts are being made to coordinate and extend services for the benefit of all three Villages that comprise what is commonly called the Tri-Village Water Works.
Briarcliff Manor Village Manager Philip Zegarelli stated that while we all can survive reasonably well without electric power for periods of time, the absence of a water supply brings a whole dynamic to health, safety and welfare. A major determination has been made by the three Villages to “harden” our shared and individual water facilities. He reported that a series of capital improvements are underway. A primary
addition includes stand-alone backup electric generator support for the Catskill Aqueduct “tap building” located in Elmsford. The tap building is essentially two siphons that draw Catskill water from the aqueduct through a single shared transmission main to the three pump stations adjacent to the Tarrytown Lakes on Neperan Road. While the Catskill is gravity fed, a series of vacuum pumps and initial chlorination ensures a steady flow of potable water to our pump stations. Distribution then goes out to each community.
This is an important hardening effort. Zegarelli stated that it really doesn’t matter how efficient our power pumps are if we can’t get the water to them for distribution to our respective Village consumers. Additional cooperative work includes electronic reporting to our stations and key water department employees as to the functional status of all operations. Called the SCADA system (for Strategic Control and Data Acquisition) this will enable us to be alerted to problems and their nature as they occur, and certainly way before having to drive out to our facilities to take action. It is not just the time element, but the safety and security that is important.
We are very pleased with the levels of Tri-Village cooperation. Hardening the three pump stations is also on the agenda. Each of our own pump stations are really stand-alone. They were built to service their own community but were also designed for excess pumping capabilities. They also have their own separate generators in the event of a power failure. We will be looking at coordinating pumping facilities to cover each-other from a pumping perspective, but also as electric generator support. The concept of a mini-electric grid for these facilities is very real and would be the umbrella overlay depending on what level of emergency we might need to address. While the benefit to safety and security is the lead issue, the work effort will also lead to cost savings.
Care has also been made to keep the individual Villages whole as to their own water distribution, their costs and revenue streams. Our collective effort is to protect and harden our facilities wherever and however we can. The focus is to address common problems and issues and to mobilize and harness all of the facilities more efficiently.
Zegarelli concluded by saying, “It is easy to outline these cooperative efforts: there also needs to be the ‘heavy lifting’ in the form of detailed engineering and hydrology issues yet to be resolved. Costing is based on the water sharing agreements which govern the relationship of the three Villages for capital items; and expensing of yearly operations is based on the actual annual water consumption of each Village in the project. Regardless, it’s a great first step.”