United Water agrees to $40,000 penalty for improper pesticide use in Lake Deforest Reservoir

Posted by on May 2, 2012 | 1 comment

WEST NYACK — United Water New York has agreed to a civil penalty of $40,000 for improperly applying pesticides to the Lake Deforest Reservoir under the terms of a consent order with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the agency said today.

United Water New York owns and operates the reservoir, a major drinking water supply for thousands of Rockland homes and businesses.

State Environmental Conservation Law regulates how and when chemicals and pesticides may be applied to the state’s water bodies. The DEC’s pesticide regulations authorize the application of copper sulfate for the control of algae, subject to certain limitations.

United Water failed to follow three critical provisions of the state’s Pesticides Law in the use of copper sulfate to effectively treat algae in the reservoir, the DEC said. The company applied copper sulfate later in the year than allowed by regulation, the applications were too frequent to be in compliance with the regulation, and the company failed to maintain accurate and complete pesticide records on site, the DEC said.

United Water agreed to pay $23,250 of the penalty with the balance of $16,750 suspended contingent upon compliance with the requirements of the consent order, the DEC said. The consent order also addresses the violations and sets out a series of steps the company will need to take, including properly maintaining pesticide records and properly following all pesticide regulations in the future.

United Water New York relies on the Lake Deforest reservoir, the Ramapo Valley Well Field and a system of wells scattered around Rockland to provide drinking water to its Rockland customers.

The company is seeking state and federal approvals to build a water treatment plant that would draw water from the Hudson River, remove salt and other contaminants, treat it and then deliver it to Rockland customers. The effort is being opposed by a coalition of environmental and civic groups who are concerned about the water quality and the cost of the new plant, among other issues.

Check back later for updates.

Originally appeared on LoHud.com

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