Heads of numerous North Shore water districts, authorities and departments say that their organizations will be using grant money provided by the State of New York and bonds passed by district voters to combat 1,4-dioxane, a carcinogenic contaminant recently banned by the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Dec. 17 that the’s state Environmental Facilities Corp. would dedicate $416 million through the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act and the Intermunicipal Water Infrastructure Grant Program to municipalities for projects that protect public health or improve water quality. The awards include more than $120 million for 37 projects to address emerging contaminants on Long Island.
On Dec. 9, the governor signed a law banning household cleaning products containing 1,4-dioxane and limiting the sale of cosmetic and personal care products with certain levels of the contaminant, which is said to be carcinogenic to humans.
The Roslyn Water District, which serves the Villages of Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, East Hills, and portions of Roslyn Heights, Roslyn Harbor, Flower Hill, North Hills, Greenvale, Albertson, Glenwood Landing and Port Washington, is estimated to be receiving $4.46 million for a $7.48 million project, which Superintendent Richard Passariello says will be used to implement advanced oxidation process (AOP) treatment on the district’s wells. The superintendent expressed gratitude for the governor’s actions.
“Clearly, he understands the value and importance of drinking water,” Passariello said.
The Port Washington Water District is receiving $15 million for an estimated $30 million to be spent on three wells, according to Superintendent Italo Vecchio.
“We have a number of projects, the three most important being wells contaminated with 1,4-dioxane,” Vecchio said. “$15 million will probably cover two wells and part of the third.”
Superintendent Michael Levy heads the Garden City Park Water District, which covers the entirety of Garden City Park and Manhasset Hills, as well as parts of New Hyde Park, Mineola, Roslyn, Garden City, Albertson, Williston Park and North Hills. The district received $3.9 million for a $6.5 million project to address 1,4-dioxane, which Levy called a “legacy contaminant.”
“We appreciate the state’s leadership, and they will help us address and it will help us address very expensive repairs,” Levy said.
The Manhasset-Lakeville Water District will be using its $10.9 million grant to implement AOP on wells on Shelter Rock Road and Searingtown Road, according to its superintendent, Paul Schrader.
The website for the Manhasset-Lakeville district explains that four wells already had to be shut down as a result of contaminants from the former site of a Lockheed Martin plant in Lake Success.
“We appreciate the state’s leadership as we begin to address the enormous challenges posed by emergency contaminants,” Schrader said. “But the bill is still going to be paid with U.S. taxpayer dollars, and we’d like those charges to go to the companies who caused them.”
“It’s an enormous challenge on these contaminants,” Vecchio said. “The chemical manufacturers who caused this are still on the hook, and now the taxpayers have to cover for them contaminating the water supply.”
The Water Authority of Great Neck North, which covers the villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Kensington, Kings Point, Saddle Rock, portions of Great Neck Plaza and Thomaston, and some unincorporated areas of the Town of North Hempstead, is estimated to receive $3 million for a single $5 million project. A call to the authority’s office was unavailing.
The Village of Mineola’s Water Department received an estimated $4.98 million for an $8.3 million project. Water Department Supervisor James Martin referred a request for comment to village Clerk Joe Scalero, who was unavailable.
The Albertson Water District, which was not awarded a grant and recently passed a $31 million bond, did not respond to a request for comment.
The West Hempstead Water District is estimated to be receiving $924,150 for a $6.5 million project. Superintendent Robert York was unavailable for comment.