Air stripper ruling again challenged in court

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Three Roslyn area residents filed an appeal in state appellate court in Brooklyn Heights on Friday to overturn a Nassau County Supreme Court ruling from September 2014 denying an injunction to the start of construction of a water purification tower in Christopher Morley Park.

The appeal by East Hills resident Richard Brummel and Roslyn Estates residents Joshua Dicker and David Greengold is the latest bid by the three men to oppose efforts by the Roslyn Water District, Town of North Hempstead and Nassau County to build the water purification tower, also known as an air stripper, in the park.

Brummel said in a statement said the appeals court’s decision could take up to 45 days, and that the plaintiffs would consider further appeal if they are denied.

In an 11-page decision dated Sept. 19, 2014, state Supreme Court Justice James P. McCormack determined that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the litigation before the court, writing that “none of the petitioners have proven that they use or enjoy the park more than most other members of the public, or that their injury is real and different from most members of the public.”  

In November 2014, Brummel, Dicker and Greengold succeeded in obtaining a temporary restraining order from the state Appellate Division Second Department, which was lifted about three weeks later.

Roslyn Water District officials have said construction of the air stripper will likely begin by late spring and that an air stripper is the only way of removing contaminants from a well in Roslyn Estates, notably the carcinogen Freon-22.

The project was included in a $20.9 million capital bond approved by the Town of North Hempstead in early 2014, on the condition that the water district exhaust all resources to acquire land within the park to build the tower. Roslyn Estates residents had opposed the construction of an air stripper at the site of the contaminated well, citing concerns about the long-term health effects from the emissions produced by air strippers.

Legislation permitting the acquisition of the land in the park for use by the water district was later fast-tracked through the county and state legislatures so the air stripper could be constructed in 2015.

Brummel, Dicker and Greengold have argued that placing the air stripper in the park would harm residents, local organizations and wildlife that use its forested areas. 

They have also cited the support of the Sierra Club of Long Island, the Green Party of Nassau County, advocacy group Parc Nassau and petitions signed by park users, in the litigation.

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