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Letter To The Editor: United Water Project Fills Need for Water, New Jobs

Michael DiTullo, president of Rockland Economic Development Corporation, says project has many economic benefits.

To the Editor:

As the president of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, I am compelled to respond to the recent news conference staged by a handful of activists who are against .

Because of my commitment to help create jobs in Rockland County, I feel obligated to outline some of the many economic benefits of the Haverstraw Water Supply Project that the activists believe are unimportant.

By now, most Rockland residents understand that the County needs more water for homes, businesses and firefighting and that the State of New York has required to develop a new long-term water supply. 

I have personally toured the and reviewed data that shows that the water quality is excellent. This project will not only provide the water we critically need, but it will create desperately needed jobs.  In fact, construction of the Haverstraw Water Supply Project will put hundreds of people to work. 

Construction workers rely on significant projects for their livelihoods. I take exception to the obstructionists who trivialize the fine men and women who have helped to build the critical infrastructure of New York State by calling their jobs “temporary.” This project will bring good-paying, skilled jobs that will put bread on the table, infuse additional money into the local economy and will help build the local tax base with a “clean” ratable that will not be a drain on limited municipal resources.

In addition, the 10 permanent jobs dismissed by the activists will employ highly-trained, certified plant operators who are charged with the great responsibility of ensuring the health and safety of our community. 

Like other counties in New York State and throughout the nation, Rockland County’s economy continues to suffer from the effects of the “great recession.” Still, there are positive signs that point to recovery. In order to retain and attract vital businesses in the new economy, strong infrastructure, including a resilient, reliable and cost-effective water supply will have to be in place.

Under the leadership of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, the departments of New York State government, local governments, economic development agencies such as the Rockland Economic Development Corporation, and the private sector are working hand in hand to create jobs and improve infrastructure so that New York, and places like Rockland County, are attractive places to work, live, and visit. 

The handful of activists who oppose projects like the Haverstraw Water Supply Project have the luxury to do so without having to back up their words with facts or to bear any responsibility for their reckless actions. Where will these individuals be if the time comes when the need for water outpaces United Water’s ability to produce water with existing infrastructure?

Governor Cuomo’s message that “New York is open for business” has been welcome news to the business community and to enlightened residents who recognize that in order to thrive as a state, you need a business climate that encourages investment and job creation. United Water first proposed the Haverstraw Water Supply Project in January 2007 and has since undertaken an incredibly transparent that included input and consultation with regulators and the public each step of the way. Its engineering analyses, financial calculations, and study results have been available for scrutiny by the professional staffs of government regulators and the public alike. I am confident that the highly-qualified professionals at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the New York State Department of Health and the Public Service Commission will ensure that this Project is needed, safe, reliable, and cost effective.

The time has come to approve and construct the Haverstraw Water Supply Project to create jobs, provide much needed tax revenues to struggling governments, and, most importantly, to meet the water supply needs of Rockland County residents and businesses.

Join the Rockland Economic Development Corporation in support of United Water’s Haverstraw Water Supply Project.  Call the Governor at 518.474.8390 and say “yes.”

Michael DiTullo

Michael DiTullo is the President of the Rockland Economic Development Corporation.

one thing rockland seems to have in abundence is "energy saving politicans and public officials.." we should get goverment rewards!!!!!what seems to occupy most offices in the county and maple ave are the "low wattage dim wits"..is there anyone above 15 watts anywhere in the county? the only GREEN they seem to do anything for and destroy al the taxpaying people is THEIR SALARIES AND BENEFITS" on that they are Experts..so in effect "we have low wattage chasing the Green"
still waiting to hear about who is funding this guys office of development????how about Transparency!!!!!!!
Richard June 30, 2012 at 04:21 PM
This has nothing to do with Clarkstown or Maple Ave. This is strictly county and state.
Michael Mandel June 30, 2012 at 05:01 PM
A number of years ago, there was a formula setup for the allocation of water on a daily basis for Rockland County, the Village of Nyack and New Jersey from Lake DeForest. The plan called for Rockland to receive 10 million gallons, Nyack to receive 2 million gallons and New Jersey to receive 7.75 million gallons of water daily. In reality, New Jersey has received an average of 15 million gallons a day (Source: U.S.G.S. 1991-2007). In my opinion, United Water purposely released water to New Jersey to justify their plan to build a desalinization Plant.
AS I stated before...in last drought many residents never stopped their lawn watering...typical attitude of many large home owners..a local supermarkets owners had 2 of the most green lawns..where was local enforcement? most likely slurping their coffee in the bagel stores...as I stated> IF you want a greenlawn dig your own well...I grew up in suffern and we had a well...so people this will create jobs..make more houses "less dependent on our drinking water supply.".and theres No way No how I would want to drink from the hudson river..we can not trust anyone who has a "monied interest"..and another agency just downgraded wonderful rockland county!!!!we have junk bonds ratings and junk leadership!!!!this submarine is going to runout of fuel!!!!!!then the leaders will yell"dont open up the windows!!!!we are a submarine!!! but people the boat has sunk already!!!
John Taggart June 30, 2012 at 07:33 PM
If you dig a well in Ramapo you are tapping the same water as united water. Im' tired of this, if your in favor of the plant then your paid or corrupt. I'm tired of this, the Hudson is polluted. I live on the water in the shadow of the power plant, I know what the water quality is, I fish and crab here. If you don't want to believe the test results than drink bottled water.
John Taggart June 30, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Mr Mandel,The population has grown considerably, in Rockland and NJ, thats why were here.
I just googled rockland county business development and there was as of march 12,2012 a letter from NY STATE asking for them to comply to certain regulations which it seemed they have not for a few years???????so DI TULLO..is your agency up to date on the ny state requirements that they sent your group a letter too?
Clarkstown life July 01, 2012 at 11:49 PM
'dig your own well'????????? What planet are you from? I go to 'that' supermarket because it is a community establishment who gives back to the community in which they do business.........your posts continue to be laughable
Peter July 02, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Richard, I don't know you. I do know DiTullo. There is no more honest and moral man that I am aware of. My training says to me that confronting someone on facts is a logical way to get your point across. Attacking someone personally means you have no ground to stand on and are being desperate. Are you being desperate? Or are you just an attack dog?
RCF July 02, 2012 at 01:01 AM
A few facts: 1. 24,000 signatures of opposition is more than a "handful of activists that Mr. DiTullo indicates in his letter. 2. Those opposed to this project are not against job creation. In fact several of the other alternatives to desalination have the potential to create both construction jobs as well as permanent jobs. 3. As indicated in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that UW had to complete included in Section 8 - Page 31 - "As a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, the radionuclide tritium combines with oxygen to form tritiated water molecules. It therefore CANNOT be separated from the water and CANNOT be removed through water treatment." The DEIS does include analytical data of tritium levels in the pilot plant's water. 4. United Water is owned by Suez Environment which in turn owns Degremont which specializes in the construction of desalination plants and Suez is a 75% owner of Agbar which specializes in design, building and operation of desalination plants. 5. United Water has been fined by NYSDEC for releasing excess water to New Jersey; United Water has also been fined by NYSDEC for improper application of pesticides at the Lake Deforest Reservoir.
Peter July 02, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Michael, These people are brutish louts. I am sorry you have to put up with these people while implementing positive change for the county. They are not aware of the jobs and money you brought to Orange County, and the effect you can have on Rockland, they are too self important to do anything else but hear themselves complain. Sorta like those who knock the Yankees. Just because...
M July 02, 2012 at 11:51 AM
Handful of activists?? 24,000 signatures does not represent a handful of people. The fact is that there is overwhelming opposition to this project. Who will pay for the ratable? WE will. Those taxes come out of our pockets, out of substantially increased rates for UW customers. Go back and look at the test results. Small amounts of both Strontium 90 and tritium are in the finished water. Neither Strontium 90 nor tritium are naturally occurring. They are both products of nuclear fission.
John Taggart July 02, 2012 at 01:21 PM
No matter where you go on planet earth if you test for tritium you will find it.Tritium is also air bourn in water vapor, it occures naturally, and processed tritium is used in glow in the dark products like watches and exit signs. I question the notion that it cross cuts the current of the river. Its not that tritium is there, its how much. Very Little. Yes environmental groups are against jobs.The canadian power line designed by Westchester based enviro groups to run through Rockland is to shut our local power plants and destroy our tax base. Riverkeeper takes credit for stopping the millenium project and all the work involved with upgrading Westchester to gas from oil. Thats an enviromental and jobs disaster created by enviro groups. I'm glad to hear that the people who might build the desal plant are experts in building desal plants. United Water would rather do nothing, but is trying to find the most economical way to obey an order You can't go just by DEC fines. Without knowing the river and lake levels througout the system you can't say if the discharge was correct. The use of more pesticide was correct, after a warm winter the algae level was way to high. The fine was wrong. later a report comes out that this algae is very dangerous, its in high levels in most lakes in NY it can cause kidney failure if people ingest it. The DEC knew of the danger and didn't tell the public because they were worried about tourism. Who fines the DEC and who trusts them ?
Peter July 02, 2012 at 01:25 PM
M 24,000 signatures is a tremendous amount. No argument. I was responding to the "negativeness" of some of the comments. Discuss all people want. 24,000 people should be heard and respected. No reason for personal attacks though. Your response is level and measured and therefore should be respected. The comments from Richard: ".......appear to be a Suez puppet. ....sell more jobs over public health?" and a Penn State comparison regarding Pedophilia!!!! then, a final insult "How much are you being paid to write that BS?" Is one example of what I refer to. No should be accused of being paid off, or compared to a pedophile. "Clowntown's" attacking Mike's work at OCBA is also misleading. He is unaware of the facts and presents something from an article - then applies it to Mike. ( I am an OCBA client) Guys like DiTullo are too good for that. Reasoned discussion, not name calling. That is my only point here.
as I said google what the State of New York has requested in a letter to them also copies sent to carlucci and vanderhoofs office. and why arent they responding to their requests for filings?
John Taggart July 02, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Looking at the test results, those are minute amounts of strontium and tritium. They are also used in industry and medicine. This plant will take 5 years to build leaving Indian point with only 15 years left to opperate. Note on your test result sheet that this plant removes elements by reverse osmosis that are in the water today like, arsenic, lead, and sediment. Also this water will be further diluted when mixed with the greater system. It was 2 years ago if I remember right petitioners came to my door to convince me to sign. They dont stand quietly, they try to convince, sometimes with less than supportable statements. Thats at least 2 years to get 24,000 out of 312,000 residents, and 178,000 registered voters. Thats a good # but not overwhelming. Most people don't have an issue with it. Water rates are dirt cheap and will not go up that much. Its ths gas and electric rates the government is killing us with by attaching taxes.
Toig July 02, 2012 at 04:19 PM
Chad Murdock The huge electricity costs for de-salting and de-polluting Hudson water could raise our water rates by as much as 100%, in addition to the rate hikes for building the desalination plant. United Water has repeatedly put out statements about estimated county growth and future demand for more water. However, this demand should be sharply separated from actual needs and wants. For those who push for major growth as "progress", we ask what has this growth done for East Ramapo and Yonkers? How far do we want to go with high-rise buildings, traffic congestion, air pollution, overcrowded schools, crime and skyrocketing taxes to try to fix such things? Rockland's population size seems to be in a good balance with water availability. Rainfall here and in the northeast has increased over the past ten years, perhaps associated with global climate change. We have had no drought since 2002. Some people profit from growth, at least for a while. However, never-ending growth is not inevitable. It is impossible. We can have a better quality of life and retain a sense of shared community by cooperatively living in a sustainable balance with nature. The choice we make now can shape the lives of ourselves, our children and grandchildren far into the future.
RCF July 03, 2012 at 01:18 AM
Mr. Taggart - For tritium to occur naturally in the environment it involves cosmic rays interacting with nitrogen in the upper atmosphere. It is not the same as something like radon that naturally occurs from the breakdown of uranium in the soil. You are correct that tritium is processed for glow in the dark products such as building exit signs and watches, however, another large source is from nuclear power plants, as well as nuclear weapons testing/creation. I don't think it is unreasonable to question siting a drinking water intake approximately 3.5 miles from the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. It certainly increases the potential for higher levels of tritium in the surrounding environment if the power plant was not there. In addition, another potential source for man made tritium has been found in landfills where building exit signs may have been improperly disposed of. The UW proposed desal plant is sited on an old landfill site. The use of pesticides for algae control in reservoirs is debatable. There have been studies that indicate that applying too high a level of pesticide/algacide to kill the algae and weeds can result in a increased release of toxins to the water supply, thus counteracting the intended benefit. While pesticides and algacides have their purpose, there are alternatives as well as the better solution of limiting the source of these algae blooms such as from stormwater runoff that carries fertilizer/nutrients that cause algae growth.
RCF July 03, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Let us also not forget that United Water was required to provide a detailed and transparent DEIS that evaluated ALL alternatives and provided a conclusion /recommendation for the most cost effective and least environmentally damaging project. United Water's failure to highlight their potential for gain by owning companies that build desalination plants is worrisome and biased. There were other alternatives that could be analytically shown to be cheaper than desalination - yet that was UW's conclusion. Let's be honest, United Water stands to gain financially in three ways from this project - 1. increased water rates paid by all of us users 2. profits from design/building the proposed facility 3. profits from the sale of the undeveloped land that was designated for Ambrey Pond.
Rita J July 08, 2012 at 12:15 AM
This project is being overwhelmingly rejected by the people of Rockland County. That should be enough for the RBA and the REDC to stop and pay attention....if these "men" on their high horses really gave a damn about the people of Rockland County....
Issy July 08, 2012 at 12:47 AM
It is being 'overwhelmingly rejected' based on emotion not facts. The fact is that the NY PSC projects Rockland could be in a negative water situation as early as 2015. That is why they have mandated UW to do something about it. The 'high horse' arrogance is those who ignore this warning and instead would believe that Rockland has no water problem, despite scientific evidence to the contrary and would maintain the status quo.
Rita J July 08, 2012 at 09:02 PM
The mandate was based on bad information. Surely you've heard about the USGS study that came out in 2010, well after the PSC mandate that says the aquifers are recharging at a higher rate than previously reported (by UW). Once UW was compelled to stop illegally dumping water downstream, we no longer suffered from drought restrictions. Common sense tells us we live in a water rich area. UW is playing Rockland for a fool, thinking they could build their FIRST desal plant in America here and proceed to sell off crucial watershed areas in New Jersey and Rockland for enormous profits. Why would you think it's ok for us to pay this unnecessary tax? Because that's what it is. You can't live without water, so we would have no choice but to pay them.
Rita J July 08, 2012 at 09:06 PM
And, nobody is talking status quo. United Water failed miserably in the DEIS to adequately explore the alternatives. They basically went straight to desal, because that is the most profitable for them. Stop siding with the multi-national corporation that has been fined for lying about water quality in Toms River, fined for lying about water distribution to New Jersey and thrown out of 18 municipalities in this country for bad business practices and costing those towns enormous amounts of money in bad water policy. If you really cared about Rockland, you would be siding with the people first and helping to find real, sustainable alternatives.
John Taggart July 09, 2012 at 10:09 AM
I feel the multi national corporation is more truthful than the lying, owned by enviro groups, polititions in this county. Why no complaints on the county tax on gas and electric. Answer, enviro groups like it when we pay more as a deterent to use. Back in your cave people. Why no complaintes on the DEC hiding the dangers of the algae UW was trying to kill. They were worried about the state making a PROFIT on tourism. I'll take the corporation that makes a profit, creates jobs, supplies a service and pays taxes, over a corrupt, fear of losing office driven, politition who continually rasis taxes to pay for buddies jobs and missmanagement, or the power hungry special interest groups that pressure them. Making desisions based on radicals screaming the loudest at meetings has hurt this country. All polititions need term limits so they won't be swayed by junk science
Issy July 09, 2012 at 10:45 AM
Yes, I attended a lecture on the USGS report and while it does paint a rosier picture than before it still indicates that our future water supply is still precarious. After evaluating the report and UW water release to NJ the PSC affirmed their 2007 mandate in 2010, so to say the mandate was based on bad information is incorrect. I am not sure what alternatives you think would be better and conform to the PSC's mandate, the plant is the cheapest and most sustainable of the three choices that meet the mandate. I have attended/read many professional lectures on our water supply all of which expresses various degrees of concern , so please understand, I am not siding with UW (I have no desire to pay more for water), I am siding with making sure Rockland has a sustainable future water supply.
RCF July 10, 2012 at 12:03 PM
The use of pesticides for algae control in reservoirs is debatable. There have been studies that indicate that applying too high a level of pesticide/algacide to kill the algae and weeds can result in a increased release of toxins to the water supply, thus counteracting the intended benefit. While pesticides and algacides have their purpose, there are alternatives as well as the better solution of limiting the source of these algae blooms such as from stormwater runoff that carries fertilizer/nutrients that cause algae growth. Finally, the conventional treatment process is set up to remove algae from surface water. At Lake Deforest the Dissolved Air Flotation treatment and disinfection are designed to remove the algae and associated toxins that Mr. Taggart was concerned with.
Rita J July 13, 2012 at 02:29 AM
Rockland has a water management problem, not a water quantity program. It is just not profitable for United Water to manage the supply properly. This is not brain surgery. We live in a valley.
Issy July 13, 2012 at 03:05 AM
Exactly and what happens when it does not rain in that valley?
John Taggart July 13, 2012 at 03:26 AM
We need to build that water plant and tie it directly to the Bowline power plant. Natural gas from west NY, electric power from Bowline and adjacent water plant on the Hudson. Thats a long term tax paying infrastructure to help keep Haverstraw and North Rockland in the black. We dont have a Pyramid mall.

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