Water districts throughout Nassau County can apply for individual grants up to $50,000 that will aid in eliminating harmful contaminants in residential water, officials announced on Wednesday.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said that $1.5 million in grants stemming from funds secured in the American Rescue Plan. The grants are part of a $9 million plan by the county to improve water quality throughout all the districts in Nassau.
“Nassau County is committed to providing communities with the resources they need to make critical upgrades to their water systems,” Curran said. “By assisting water districts with these important infrastructure improvements, we will ensure cleaner water for residents while preventing costs from being passed onto ratepayers.”
“On behalf of the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association, we express our gratitude to the County for allocating funds from the American Rescue Plan towards emerging contaminants and water conservation,” Amanda Field, president of the association said. “Every dollar counts towards offsetting the cost of designing and constructing treatment systems.”
The grant funding, officials said, could be used for a myriad of remedies and treatments to help districts keep water throughout the county clean from contaminants such as 1,4 dioxane, a carcinogenic contaminant banned by the state. Districts can also use the funding to afford more testing for potential contaminants, maintaining systems already in place throughout each district, and purchasing new technology to keep contaminants out of the water, officials said.
“As Water Commissioners representing 21 Voter-Elected Districts serving 620,000 consumers, we have a fiduciary responsibility to protect our residents while delivering the highest quality water at the lowest possible rate,” Field said. “This grant program will greatly assist with that mission.”
Some water districts throughout the county, including the Port Washington Control District, have switched to new technological systems to not only eliminate contaminants from entering drinking water, but to also preserve water that residents use for lawn maintenance.
Last year a daily rate increase of approximately $0.08 for residents went into effect throughout the district. The rate hikes for residents were part of a five-year, $43 million capital plan to prevent 1,4 dioxane and other emerging contaminants from entering residential water sources along with other infrastructure improvements that officials said were needed.
Included in the new treatment systems were new technology such as an Advanced Oxidation Process and a Granular Activated Carbon filtration system. The two together are the only approved method to remove 1,4 dioxane from drinking water, according to officials.