In an historic vote at today''s special meeting, the County Board took action to protect the drinking water supply by approving the use of $10 million to build a sewage treatment plant for the Peach Lake area of the Town of North Salem. The money comes from the East of Hudson Water Quality Improvement Fund (EOH), created in 1997 when New York City provided $38 million to Westchester County to be used for water quality improvements in the "East of Hudson watersheds" of the NYC drinking water supply.

County Legislator Peter Harckham (D-Bedford), who introduced the measure, said he was pleased that this long-awaited day had finally come.

"Residents, the driving force behind this project from the beginning, deserve a great deal of credit for getting all levels of government to coalesce around this project, “said Harckham. "Protecting the region''s water quality must be a regional effort. The County Board''s unanimous approval today of $10 million in funding underscores that the legislature is clearly committed to clean water and partnering with local municipalities to make that happen."

County Board Chair Bill Ryan said this is another example of how county government works to help localities. "It is important that the county partner with local governments to protect our water supply. While individual municipalities are on the front lines of protecting the watershed, local budgets can’t handle the tremendous cost of these projects," said Ryan. "By providing funds and planning expertise to North Salem and partnering with the town, the county is moving this important environmental project forward."

County Board Vice Chair Michael B. Kaplowitz (D-I-WF, Somers) congratulated Pete Harckham, the newly-elected Legislator who represents the Westchester side of Peach Lake, and thanked Harckham’s predecessor Ursula LaMotte and Board Chair Bill Ryan.

“As the former chair of both the Environment and Budget Committees, I am proud to have been a part of over eight years of hard work and commitment to improve the water quality of Peach Lake,” said Kaplowitz. “This is an historic, bipartisan vote that this Board can be very proud of.”

County Legislator Tom Abinanti (D-Greenburgh), Chair of the Environment & Energy Committee, provided an overview of the process that culminated in today''s approval. "Sewage and drinking water don''t mix. The County Board''s action today will ensure that in Peach Lake, they won''t anymore. The sewage plant will improve the quality of life for area residents and preserve drinkable water for the rest of us."

Resident Peggy Boyle spoke on behalf of the Peach Lake Coalition, the neighborhood group that has advocated relentlessly for the funding. "I had thought the best day thus far of 2008 was Super Bowl Sunday but today I consider Super Bowl Tuesday," said Boyle. "This process has surely brought out the best in each and every one of us and I am gratified today to be part of the Peach Lake Giants winning team."

The vote was attended by many current and former elected officials including: Paul Greenwood – Supervisor, Town of North Salem; Sy Globerman – former Supervisor, Town of North Salem and Ursula LaMotte, former 2nd District County Legislator, as well as numerous citizens of Peach Lake.

Peach Lake is one of five priority projects recommended by the Northern Westchester Watershed Committee (NWWC) to receive an allocation of EOH funds, with a total proposed expenditure of $50M for all projects. The other priority projects identified by NWWC are in New Castle, Bedford, Yorktown and Somers.