Today’s news:

Jamaica slated for new water treatment plant

The meeting was held to allay residents' concerns and showcase a model of the initial design for the plant, located on a triangular patch of land between 164th Place, 110th Avenue, 109th Avenue and a row of houses. The facility will be built of glass, concrete, stainless steel and glazed brick in shades reminiscent of the sea and feature a symbolic design, from its wavy top to its sloping roof line emerging from the ground and reaching for the heavens."It's resurrecting the water system" and drawing up its offerings, said Douglas Greeley, deputy commissioner of water and sewer operations for the city Department of Environmental Protection.Construction of Station 6 is expected to begin in late 2007 or early 2008 and end before 2010. When online, the station's pumps will run continuously at a capacity of 10 to 12 million gallons a day in order to keep the groundwater, which rose after the old Jamaica Wells system was shut down, at a level that will not flood basements. Street flooding has also been addressed with separate DEP efforts.Station 6 is also part of a larger, multi-phase project to supplement the city's upstate reservoir drinking water with the aquifer that sits below Brooklyn and Queens. Plans are underway to clean up the nearby West Side Corp. site, where dry cleaning chemicals from a former storage facility seeped into the ground.Equipment at Station 6 will filter iron and manganese, two non-toxic and naturally occurring elements that affect taste and color, from the water. Reverse osmosis will take care of calcium and magnesium, two non-toxic minerals that make water "hard." And man-made chemicals, such as the gasoline additive MTBE, will be captured in several tubes called "air-stripping towers." In preparation for the project, the DEP ran a year-long pilot program at the site, monitoring the results but not releasing the water for drinking. In the future, area residents will receive a "blend" of reservoir and aquifer water, subject to approval under stringent state Health Department standards."I think they can do what they say they can do," said Manuel Caughman, former president of the Brinkerhoff Civic Association, a local group of residents.As currently envisioned, Station 6 will entail a 70,000-square-foot building, long and narrow, that will provide office space, a community meeting area and an educational component for students. In addition to the sloping roof line and wavy top, the facility will likely feature trees and water trickling down a set of steps. Engineers are still seeking community input on their plans."I love what I see," said Rosa Collado, secretary for the Residential People for Improvement, a recently formed area block association. "It really beautifies the neighborhood."Reach reporter Michael Morton by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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