Water, Water, Everywhere…A Tri-Village Venture

Briarcliff Manor, Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow have been the recipients of a $602,879 grant from New York State. The grant, written by Fiona Mathew, who is contracted by both Sleepy Hollow and Briarcliff Manor, has positive implications for all three Villages, and in particular, Tarrytown. “With this money the Villages will consolidate their water supply functions,” Ms. Mathew said during a recent phone conversation.

This translates to the time the water comes out of the aqueduct through the siphon until it leaves the pump station to go into each Village’s distribution line. Each Village will continue to have their own distribution line to households, however, all functions prior to distribution will be consolidated under one system governing all three Villages.

The three pump stations that presently exist side-by-side on Neperan Road in Tarrytown will see major changes, with Tarrytown’s aging pump station to be the first in line for consolidation efforts. Essentially a plan exists to remove Tarrytown’s pump station, which is the oldest of the three and would require an extensive amount of work for much needed upgrading (although the Villages have not signed off on it as of this reporting). This will save a great deal of capital costs that would otherwise be spent to build a new pump station for Tarrytown. They will, however, have to negotiate other financial considerations. Briarcliff and Sleepy Hollow pump stations will then either equally share responsibilities or one station will become the principal and the other a backup. According to Ms. Mathew, this arrangement will allow one station to function if and when the other requires maintenance or repairs. “Drinking water is the kind of situation where you really want to have redundancy,” she said. “The grant came from the New York State Department of State under their local government efficiency program, which is essentially a program that encourages local governments to share services,” she added. A two-year time line is anticipated for this infrastructure upgrade which by all accounts is an aggressive approach for the completion of a municipal project. When all is completed each Village will have metering capabilities to determine how much water they are using and what their costs will be.

The genesis of this consolidation of water supply functions goes back many years to a time when the current Village Manager of Briarcliff, Philip Zegarelli, was the Mayor of Sleepy Hollow. By his own account he knew that planning for adequate water distribution in the future demanded long term planning. He also knew that if the Villages joined forces they could distribute water more efficiently and in greater quantities as anticipated growth and development took place.

A Tri-Village waterworks consortium will be helpful in working with New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection and its Water Board rather than each Village dealing separately. “With water supply and distribution, you need to think about needs over the next 40 to 50 years,” Zegarelli said. “You also need to think about ways to reduce expenses within each Village. Aging equipment and increased maintenance is an expense. Redundancy of personnel is an expense. New York State is providing incentives for village governments to become more efficient, and this project provides for consolidation and increased efficiency,” he said.

Talks are ongoing between Zegarelli, Mike Blau – Tarrytown’s Village Administrator (and former Briarcliff Village Manager), and Anthony Giaccio – Sleepy Hollow’s Village Administrator. With the addition of a water tank where Tarrytown’s pump station now stands, it becomes possible for all three Villages to have a 10-12 million-gallon water supply. Through upgrades of an additional pump at Briarcliff’s state-of-the-art station, along with Sleepy Hollow’s, and there will be water, water everywhere.

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About the Author: Robert Bonvento