YORKTOWN, N.Y. - If you’ve noticed your water smells a bit different lately, you’re not alone. A few residents have noted that their water smells more chlorinated than usual. However, officials from the Yorktown Water Department and the Northern Westchester Joint Water Works (NWJWW) say there is nothing to worry about.
Residents in eastern Yorktown and Somers typically receive their water from the Amawalk Water Treatment Plant, which draws water from the Amawalk Reservoir located at the intersection of Route 202 and Route 35 in the town of Somers, said Jeffrey Dahlke, director of the water quality lab at the Yorktown Water Department. Residents in Cortlandt and the western side of Yorktown receive their water from the Catskill Aqueduct, which draws its water from the Catskill Mountains all the way down to Yonkers. Due to some construction that is obstructing the Catskill Aqueduct, all residents of Yorktown are now receiving their water from the Amawalk facility.
“Chlorine dissipates as it moves through the system,” Dahlke said. “Now, we’re pumping from one side of town to the other—you want to have enough.”
There needs to be enough chlorine (the primary disinfectant in drinking water) to reach the other side of town, he said. Additionally, he said, there is a higher volume of water and it is traveling at a faster speed in order to accommodate the new demand.
If it still smells like chlorine by the time it reaches you, “It just means you’re getting fresher water,” Dahlke said. “It’s not a health issue at all.”
Matthew Geho, operations director at NWJWW, said the construction on the Catskill Aqueduct is being conducted by the Department of Environmental Protection. It is a long-term “capital project” involving new valves and other components, he said.
“For the past two years or so the Amawalk facility has been under construction,” he said. “There have been $2 million of capital improvements.”
During this time, he said the Amawalk facility has provided a “limited flow” to parts of Yorktown. Now, with the other water source inactive, all of Yorktown will receive its water from the Amawalk facility until further notice.
“The two districts have completely different water qualities,” Geho said. “The quality of the water [from Amawalk] has much more hardness and alkalinity to it. It has nothing to do with public health. It’s purely aesthetic.”
Water dosages, or the amount of chemicals such as chlorine that are put in, depend on the tests taken daily in the field, Geho said.
“Until results require less chlorine or until the water flushes itself out,” it will smell of chlorine, he said.