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      Lighting the way to cleaner water for Syracuse

      Woodland Reservoir sits atop a hill overlooking Syracuse and for 120 years, has been one of the main supplies of water for the city. But age and modern regulations have forced the Syracuse Water Department to make some big changes to the Woodland Reservoir.

      A s Chief Engineer for the Water Department, Eric Murdock will oversee a $20 million upgrade that will include using light to purify the water. Murdock says the project involves running the water through a clear pipe where it would be zapped by ultraviolet light. "What it does is, it sterilizes the micro-organisms that are in the water and inhibits their ability to reproduce." Murdock told CNY Central's Jim Kenyon.

      M urdock says in addition to the ultraviolet light system , the city would still have to chlorinate the water. The project will also allow the city to avoid the necessity of installing an expensive filtration plant. The Woodland Reservoir gets its water from Skaneateles Lake, one of the cleanest sources of water in the nation. So, the federal government has given Syracuse the OK to implement the less expensive ultraviolet light treatment. A filtration system could cost taxpayers up to $175 million with an annual operating cost of $10 million.

      In stalling the less expensive new ultraviolet system without interrupting water service for thousands of households is far from simple. Murdock says workers will have to take down three historic buildings at the reservoir dating back to 1894 in order to build a temporary bypass to the Woodland Reservoir. The city will also be able to drain and clean the reservoir which hasn't been cleaned since 1934. In all the project should take two years to complete.