From reservoirs in the Catskills and Delaware watersheds, through their respective aqueducts, water reaches the UV disinfection facility in Eastview and is channeled through these chambers where it passes through a web of UV light tubes.
New York City has spent nearly $5 billion in the last decade protecting water customers from two little parasites, cryptosporidium and giardia. These protozoans will cause gastrointestinal distress for many people and more serious—even fatal—problems for those with weakened immune systems.
In the city’s east-of-Hudson Croton watershed, where development has encroached on watershed land, federal regulators forced the city to filter the water; hence the $3 billion Croton filtration plant that recently opened.
The city’s larger and more distant Catskills and Delaware watersheds have been better protected, so there the city was required to merely disinfect the water with a plant that cost $1.6 billion. Located in the Westchester County town of Eastview, the high-security UV disinfection plant is considered the largest water treatment facility in the world.
The specially-made light tubes sterilize Cryptosporidium and Giardia to prevent them from multiplying and making people sick. UV disinfection is a cheaper alternative to filtration, which actually removes Crypto and Giardia from the water.
The functioning of the light tubes is constantly monitored to ensure they're providing the level of UV output required. The room hums with the sound of millions of gallons of water rushing through metal pipes.
This massive element, which has not yet been installed, can be used to slow or speed the flow of water out of the plant. It was specially fabricated in France.
A gauge measuring water exiting the UV plant on its way to the Hillview Reservoir and then then into the water system.
From WNYC: The Sound of Clean Water
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