From the final of three meetings, this held at Cold Spring Harbor library, led by Suffolk Legislator William R Spencer and Nassau Legislator Judi Bosworth. They were also joined by Kara Hahn of the Suffolk County Legislature, New York Assemblyman-elect Chad Lupinacci, and Huntington Councilman Mark Mayoka.
The problem: The threats to what is our “Sole Source” of drinkable water are many. Over 65 entities deliver water on Long Island. Many water authorities, towns, villages and others are tapping the same resource with no one in charge- zero entities are making sure the entire supply is clean, preserved, protected and safe.
Ms. Bosworth said, it’s important that residents are aware of the difference between delivery and oversight. The NY state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has not resolved problems (even though most believe it is their mandate to do so-Ed) and they’re not a water manager. She said, “we do not have the active management system we need”
This being the third of these meetings and actually fourth if you include the one in Long Beach has this writer asking where are the other 2/3 or so Nassau and Suffolk legislators who have not shown up to ANY of these meetings?
North Merrick Civic Association president Claudia Borecky spoke about Nassau County dumping 65 million gallons of sewage daily into the bay at their Bay Park plant. She called it the greatest environmental crime in our lifetime, demanding hearings. She explained the previous administration had approved a $500 million plan but upon taking over, County Executive Mangano, with help from Morgan Stanley, moved to sell the assets off. “Essentially the county stole from our sewer budget”.
Mark Hopkinson spoke from Aqua Vectors. They have a new system to help treat nitrates in the sewage water making it much safer for discharge. They explained their system is actually cheaper than what’s being used and eliminates 2-3 times the amount of nitrates.
Sarah Meyland from NYIT/Water for Long Island explained it is not anyone’s agenda to consolidate the water companies. This is a completely seperate water management oversight issue.
She said “water management applies what we know to influence how the resource is used and outline steps that can be taken to protect, conserve and respond to water issues and problems.” She and many of the other advocates believe we need a Long Island water “compact ” which would provide oversight and management needed.
“Compacts work because the stakeholders understand that they will benefit from the professional and equitable oversight and distribution of the water in the respective basin. If Long Island created it’s own compact we would not be gaining another agency would be exchanging one agency- the DEC – for a full-service water management compact. .. under local control and oversight making us responsible for our own water future.”
After, Members of the audience were invited to speak.
Our own Gerald Ottavino from the Point Lookout Civic Association said “We need a champion of the aquifers health, free of profit and politics, to manage the resource.”
One of my favorite speakers was Carolyn DuBois Of Oyster Bay Cove. She says she is amazed she only pays about $85 a year for water. “My water is so inexpensive- it’s not fair to pay so little to be encouraged to waste it.” Yes, we agree. We are not paying what it costs to protect, preserve and RENEW (recharge) to assure we have clean drinking water tomorrow and in the future.
Judi Bosworth said to look at existing water Compacts to see what already works – “we don’t need to reinvent the wheel”.
William Spencer summed up the night: “we need bold solutions – this is not a Democrat or Republican issue… it is an issue for all of us.”