Building For the Future
Deep under the shores of Lake Ontario, a giant “mole” is carving a 9-foot diameter tunnel out of solid bedrock. Its objective is a point more than a mile offshore, where intake tunnel meets the cold, dark waters of the lake.
By 2013, that tunnel will be drawing up to 50 million gallons a day of fresh lake water to supply Monroe County Water Authority’s new East Side Water Treatment Plant, currently under construction. Together, the tunnels, 13 miles of new water main, two pumping stations and treatment plant make up the East Side Water Supply Project, the biggest improvement to the region’s water supply infrastructure in decades.
The project will provide critical redundancy to our community’s main supply of fresh water by providing a second major source of Lake Ontario water for the system. System breakdowns, or even routine maintenance, will no longer require MCWA to rely exclusively on stored water in our reservoirs. Remarkably enough, the addition of a second water treatment plant on the east side of Monroe County will reduce overall energy consumption because water pumped to east side users will travel half as far.
The project furthers our longstanding commitment to reliable, safe and affordable clean water for our region. The ESWSP also enhances our community through the creation of construction jobs and the utilization of green practices.
One key element in advancing the project was the receipt of federal stimulus funds. Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the New York State Department of Health awarded us $17.75 million in grants and subsidies, largely because our project was both shovel-ready and follows energy-efficient green practices.
Another key factor is the economic benefits to the ratepayers of the Water Authority. With over one megawatt of energy savings through the shortened distance to pump water to east side communities, the ESWSP makes financial sense.
State of the Art
The ESWSP is designed to be run as an extremely efficient with a state-of the art technologically advanced operating and control system, utilizing 21st century know-how. This continues our long tradition of efficiency in labor to bring consumers water at the lowest cost possible.
Security measures include state-of-the-art provisions and equipment to maximize the safety of our water supply and to reduce vulnerability to natural occurrences such as main breaks and natural disasters. The ESWSP is designed to preserve the purity and consistency of water delivery, improve system reliability and meet increasing water demands as our communities grow.
The processes themselves are efficient and sophisticated. Examples include taking advantage of our natural weather to utilize a freeze-drying process for residuals that is both economical and green. To cool the plant, we plan to use naturally chilled lake water to pre-cool air, reducing cost and energy consumption. Learn more about MCWA’s green initiatives here.
Every step of the way we have included economy of scale and long-look thinking to ensure sustainable, efficient and responsible operation.