Friday, 01 October 2010 00:00
After years of negotiations, the South Farmingdale Water District (SFWD) has received the $14.55 million settlement sought from the Department of Defense to protect the District’s water supply at Plant 1 on Langdon Road in Farmingdale.
Owing in large part to the efforts of Senator Charles Schumer, the Department of Justice was prompted to review and approve the settlement agreed upon by the United States Navy and SFWD.
The Navy operated the Naval Weapons Industrial Reserve Plant in Bethpage for several decades that resulted in soil and significant groundwater contamination containing volatile organic compounds.
In a prior commitment with the water district, the Navy agreed that if contamination attributed from their site was identified in SFWD outpost monitoring wells, they would pay all future costs of the necessary treatment facilities or replacement wells. In 2004, the SFWD monitoring wells indicated potential contamination from the naval site at levels above the trigger values agreed to by the Navy, the Department of Environmental Conservation and SFWD.
To avert the future threat, water treatment systems at two SFWD public water supply sites (Plant 1 and Plant 3) were proposed. Due to the impending contamination, immediate construction of the treatment system at Plant 1 was necessary to protect the water supply. Official deadlines had passed to initiate construction, and SFWD had still not received funds from the Department of Defense. Therefore, a bond issue was approved by the Town of Oyster Bay to cover the costs of construction and maintenance of the treatment system as an interim measure.
Construction of the water treatment system began in Spring 2010 and is scheduled for completion in Spring 2011. The continuing good news is that the water treatment system will be completed in time to avert any negative effects on the District’s water supply. SFWD is in negotiations with the Department of Defense to cover all construction, operating and maintenance costs for the water treatment system to be constructed in the near future at Plant 3.
By receiving the funds from the Department of Defense, the bond will be paid off and retired, and taxpayers will have no future tax burdens or increases in water rates.
The result, as Chairman of the Board Ralph Atoria notes, “There will be no costs passed on to taxpayers, no tax increase or cost increases for water, and most importantly, the flow of high-quality water will remain uninterrupted.”
While the SFWD Board of Commissioners worked closely with Schumer’s office to expedite the final agreement with the Navy, other pressures helped bring the long-standing court proceedings to a conclusion. Local civic associations took significant action, most notably the North Massapequa Civic Association led by Rose Hobbins, and Citizens For Pure Water led by Diane Losurdo.
Since 1931, SFWD has been providing clean, quality water to the communities it serves, including South Farmingdale, North Massapequa, and parts of Bethpage, Seaford and Massapequa Park. For more information please contact the South Farmingdale Water District’s office at 40 Langdon Road, Farmingdale, NY 11735. Telephone: (516) 249-3330, or visit www.sfwater.com.