Bethpage Water District Blog

Thursday, September 2, 2021

560,000 Pounds of Granular Activated Carbon Filters Bethpage Community’s Water State-of-the-Art Treatment Systems Ensure Drinking Water is Always of the Highest Quality


The Bethpage community is all too familiar with the challenges presented by the NorthropGrumman/Navy Plume. What some residents may not know is the lengths the Bethpage Water District goes to ensure that every drop of water being delivered to a residents’ home meets and surpasses all federal, state and local guidelines. Over the years, the Bethpage Water District has constructed some of the most sophisticated and state-of-the-art water treatment facilities possible. One of the most widely utilized treatment systems is known as Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) and all of the community’s water runs through them.


“Ensuring the quality of our water is and will always be the single most important obligation this District has to the residents of the Bethpage community,” said BWD Chairman John Coumatos. “We have and continue to make very sizable investments into our water infrastructure to build the treatment facilities our community needs to receive high quality drinking water. The GAC vessels we have play an integral role in many of our treatment operations.”


GACtreatment systems work under the same premise as your refrigerator or water pitcher filters, but on an industrial scale. Water passes through the vessels filled with activated carbon, which absorbs contaminants into the medium, stripping it from the water before it moves into the distribution system. The typical supply well, which generates up to two million gallons of water per day, passes through two GAC vessels that contain approximately 40,000 pounds of carbon each. Carbon change outs typically occur every six months and when coupled with routine testing, ensures that there is no contaminant breakthrough to the public water supply. 


“Even though the Northrop Grumman/Navy Plume has stigmatized this community, the reality is our water quality is extremely high quality,” said BWD Commissioner Theresa Black. “Residents who don’t want to take our word for it should find comfort in the actions we have taken over the past several decades to get us to this point and go through out water quality reports. My fellow commissioners and many of our staff members live in this community and drink the tap water because we know what is being done behind the scenes to ensure its quality. We hope our residents can share in our confidence.”


GAC treatment is also an integral part of the Advanced Oxidation—the only approved method for removing 1,4-dioxane from drinking water.The Bethpage Water District was the first water supplier in Nassau County to have AOP technology installed and currently has five of the treatment systems up and running. The GAC’s are crucial for this type of treatment because AOP requiresadding a low concentration of an oxidant (hydrogen peroxide) to the water that then causes a reaction when it passes through ultraviolet light—destroying the 1,4-dioxane molecules. The GAC systems, which water travels through after AOP treatment, ensures that any remaining hydrogen peroxide and other compounds are removed before the water moves to the next phase treatment. 


“GAC treatment is a tried-and-true treatment system that has become a standard process throughout Long Island and the country for that matter,” said BWD Commissioner Scott Greco. “If a customer wants to purchase a carbon filter for their home, they must know that, other than removing the chlorine residual that is required by law, the water reaching their home has already received that treatment but on a much higher level. Our residents can rest assured that their water is high quality thanks to the decades of dedication from the men and women of the Bethpage Water District.”


For more information on what the BWD does to keep your water flowing smoothly and safely, please call the Water District at 516.931.0093 or visit the Bethpage Water District’s website,

View All Articles