After a turbulent term as Roslyn Water District commissioner that saw public unrest over contaminants in wells, a state Supreme Court case opposing a new treatment facility in Christopher Morley Park and the implementation of water restrictions on residents, incumbent Sanford Klein will seek re-election on Dec. 13. He is running unopposed.
“There’s been a need for upgrading and improving our infrastructure. I want to see it through to completion,” said Klein, who spent over 40 years as a dentist before joining the water district as a commissioner in 2011, when the Town of North Hempstead appointed him to replace a retiring commissioner, Jack Russo.
Klein won his first election in December 2011, which allowed him to serve the remaining two years of Russo’s term. Klein then won re-election for an additional three-year term in 2013.
The infrastructure upgrades Klein cited include, most notably, the new air stripper treatment facility in Christopher Morley Park, which was found to be necessary in 2014 after the discovery of chlorofluorocarbon Freon-22 in the water district’s Village of Roslyn Estates well.
Funding for the facility was included in a $20.9 million bond approved by the Town of North Hempstead in 2014 for improvements that included work to eliminate Freon-22 contamination from wells at the William Cullen Bryant Viaduct, Diana’s Trail and Mineola Avenue.
The water district had initially proposed a treatment facility near the well at Diana’s Trail but agreed to move the facility to Christopher Morley Park after residents complained about the project’s proximity to homes. The move required the approval of the Nassau County Legislature and both houses of the state Legislature.
Richard Pastorella, Roslyn Water District superintendent, said the treatment facility will be on line in approximately 60 days.
After the discovery of the contaminant and the ensuing need for infrastructure improvements, the water district declared a state of emergency and mandated that residents limit water use, especially during the high-volume months from June to September, when residents water their lawns, Pastorella said.
Those restrictions remain in effect, though Pastorella said the water district intends to remove them after the treatment facility at Christopher Morley Park goes on line.
“We’re hoping the residents still follow aggressive conservation. We’ll be asking residents to conserve water but not mandating it,” he said.
In addition to its legislative obstacles, the treatment facility in Christopher Morley Park faced a legal challenge from three residents of the water district: Joshua Dicker, David Greengold and Richard Brummel.
The residents filed for a temporary restraining order in June 2014, saying the proposed project violated several state environmental protection laws and would destroy the forested area in the park reserved for hiking and wildlife. In October of that year a lower court judge ruled against the residents but an appeal in state Supreme Court is still pending.
The Roslyn Water District has a board of three commissioners, each of whom serves a three-year term. The terms are staggered in such a way that one seat comes open for election each year.
Besides Klein, the other two commissioners are Michael Kosinski and William Costigan. The position is part-time and pays $300 per month.
The Roslyn Water District is comprised of the villages of Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, Roslyn Harbor, East Hills and Flower Hill as well as parts of North Hills and Port Washington and the unincorporated areas Roslyn Heights, Albertson, Greenvale and Glenwood Landing.
“I still feel I can make a contribution,” Klein said of his choice to run for re-election.
“There are still many things that need to be done.”
Voting will take place on Dec. 13 at the Bryant library between 4 and 9 p.m.