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Problems Persist With Sleepy Hollow Water Supply

SLEEPY HOLLOW, N.Y. – Sleepy Hollow needs to address its water issues soon, Trustee David Schroedel told the board of trustees at its Tuesday meeting.

“We are in trouble today,” he said.

Sleepy Hollow gets its water from the New York City water supply, which comes down three aqueducts from the Catskill Mountains. Sleepy Hollow shares one connection to the Catskill Aqueduct with Tarrytown and Briarcliff Manor.

Sleepy Hollow has seen a number of water emergencies in recent months because of heavy storms, such as Tropical Storm Irene. When this happens, high turbidity or bacteria counts in the aqueducts cause New York City to shut down affected lines, Schroedel said.

“As soon as they see this, they turn off the water,” Schroedel said.

The village connects to the aqueduct at a site near the Tarrytown Lakes, where it treats and then pumps the water into a holding tank located at Rockefeller State Park Preserve. The tank was built in 1926 on land given to the village from John D. Rockefeller. Water from the holding tank is then distributed through water main pipes throughout the village and to Phelps Memorial Hospital Center.

Shutting down the aqueduct for a period of time causes the village's holding tank to deplete. Schroedel said the tank currently holds 880,000 gallons of water, which isn't enough to last for 24 hours.

When New York City shuts off water to the Catskill Aqueduct, Schroedel noted the village isn’t informed until after the city has done so.

Although the number of times that New York City has shut off water has decreased in 2011, the length of time that the water gets shut off has increased. According to Schroedel, in 2010, the average water emergency lasted 18 hours, but the average increased to 24 hours in 2011.

During each emergency in 2011, Sleepy Hollow had to buy approximately 1,059,000 gallons of water from Greenburgh and other communities.

Schroedel recommended creating redundant connects to the Delaware Aqueduct and the New Croton Aqueduct so that the village would not be affected if an aqueduct was shut down for a period of time.

Sleepy Hollow has already constructed a temporary connection to the New Croton Aqueduct for about $841,000 because the Catskill Aqueduct has been slated for repair. Schroedel described this as “a very smart investment” because the pump station is mobile and can be used in emergencies.

Schroedel also recommended the village build a new holding tank which would hold 2.4 million gallons, a 24-hour supply, especially because of the planned development at the former General Motors site.

Construction on the holding tank, whether building a completely new tank or improving the existing tank, would take about three to five months. Trustees are expected to pass a resolution next week authorizing the village to begin studying different options for the holding tank construction.

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