Officials celebrate new water plant

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Elected officials from Great Neck villages, Nassau County, the state and the United States gathered at the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District headquarters on Friday for a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new water and waste treatment facility on East Shore Road.

“It is time for us to share in the celebration,” water pollution control Commissioner Deena Lesser said. 

The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District, located at 236 East Shore Road, in December completed a consolidation project that allows for all sewage from the Village of Great Neck to be handled through the water pollution control district’s new plant, which was designed to reduce nitrogen dumping into the Long Island Sound in accordance with rulings from the state Department of Environmental Conservation. 

The new plant was built and the districts consolidated for an estimated $60 million, which was paid for by the state Environmental Facilities Corporation.

The project was intended to “expand all necessary treatment processes, install connecting sewer mains, and increase the overall capacity of the facility,” Great Neck Water Pollution Control District Superintendent Christopher Murphy said.

“We’re excited to be extending our borders and extending our service to the Village of Great Neck,” Commissioner Jerry Landsberg said. 

The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District had previously served the villages of Kensington, Thomaston, Saddle Rock and parts of Manhasset. 

“It took a lot of hard work and effort on our part but it’s here and it’s great,” Village of Great Neck Deputy Mayor Mitchell Beckerman said on Friday. 

The village sewer treatment plant was located at 265 East Shore Road, only a few blocks away from the water district’s site. 

The decommissioning of the village sewage plant had been protested by residents who claimed the water district could not properly handle the sewage. 

“It wasn’t easy getting consensus,” state Senator Jack Martins said. “In retrospect it seems easy. It wasn’t easy.”

State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel praised village, county and state government leaders for their support of the project.

“All of us, all layers of government made this happen,” Schimel said. 

Matthew Driscoll, president and CEO of the state Environmental Facilities Corporation and the former mayor of Syracuse, called the project a model that all of New York should follow. 

“I will say that this project in Great Neck may be one of the best ever,” Driscoll said. 

The state Environmental Facilities Corporation is responsible for funding environmental projects throughout the state. 

Driscoll said he would “tout this project to all of New Yorkers.”

Congressman Steve Israel (D-Huntington) said the project was not only a model for the state, but for the country. 

“While Congress is turning their backs on environmental projects, you are pointing out the way,” Israel said.  “This is a national model.”

Israel also said he will promise to get together with other members of Congress whose districts border the Long Island Sound to get more money for the preservation of the body of water. 

Israel said the federal government has thus far set aside about $3 million for the preservation of the Long Island Sound. 

“That’s just not enough,” Israel said.

Water district Commissioner Steven Reiter said at the end of the ceremony that the water district is planning to implement a grease disposal system for Great Neck restaurants. 

The grease, Reiter said, would be hauled from the restaurants and transferred to the facility where it would be treated and disposed. 

The treatment of the grease would produce methane gas, which would be used to power the facility, Reiter said. 

Other elected officials present at the ribbon cutting ceremony were Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth, Nassau County Interim Finance Authority Chair and former Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman, Town Councilwoman Lee Seeman, Town Councilwoman Anna Kaplan, Town Councilman Peter Zuckerman, Town Clerk Wayne Wink, Receiver of Taxes Charles Berman, Village of Great Neck trustees Jeffrey Bass and Barton Sobel, Village of Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin, Village of Great Neck Plaza Deputy Mayor Ted Rosen, Great Neck Park District commissioners Ruth Tamarin and Robert Lincoln Jr. and Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck).

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