Legislators propose building water cleaning facility in Roslyn park

Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, photographed May 22, Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, photographed May 22, 2014, may be the site of a new water treatment facility. Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

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A facility designed to remove contaminants from drinking water could be built within a county-owned park in Roslyn, under state legislation introduced this month.

Assemb. Michelle Schimel (D-Great Neck) and state Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) filed bills last Friday that would allow for less than half an acre of Christopher Morley Park to be used by the Roslyn Water District to build an air stripper, which removes contaminants from water and sends them into the air.

The district first proposed building the facility at its well site on Diana's Trail in Roslyn Estates, but decided to move it to the park after residents voiced concern about potential effects of the air stripper on their homes and children.

The facility is needed, according to the district, to address Freon 22 found in the well water. The district stopped using the well, and won't use it again until the air stripper is installed.

The source of the Freon 22 is not known, but the state Department of Environmental Conservation said in March that it will investigate.

The measure by Schimel and Martins calls for the Roslyn Water District to take over the .44-acre parcel on the north side of the park and give Nassau County at least the fair market value for the land.

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Richard Passariello, superintendent of the Roslyn Water District, said the county and district officials were negotiating the price of the land.

The bill specifies that the money the county receives could only be used for park and recreational facilities.

Mike Martino, spokesman for the Nassau County Department of Public Works, said the money would only be used for Christopher Morley Park.

Schimel said the process, known as park land alienation, is rigorous.

"We don't take park land alienation loosely," she said.

Brett Auerbach, who owns land adjacent to the district's well site, said he was pleased. "I feel much better that it's not 30 feet from my window," he said. "I think it's probably about 280 feet now. I'm definitely happy that we're able to relocate it into the park."

But Bruce Piel, chairman of the Park Advocacy and Recreation Council of Nassau, said he was opposed to the idea and planned to lobby policymakers.

"We don't have any problem with the water district getting any contaminant out of their water supply," Piel said. "We have a problem with them putting it in the middle of a little nature trail."

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