Roslyn water district seeks cleanup funds

An exterior of the Roslyn Water District Building An exterior of the Roslyn Water District Building on West Shore Road. (Jan. 27, 2014) Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

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The North Hempstead Town Board will consider approving $20.9 million in bonds Tuesday, part of which will go toward cleaning up contamination found in a Roslyn Water District well.

Freon 22, a refrigerant commonly used in air-conditioning units, was discovered last year in the district's well off Diana's Trail, said Michael Kosinski, chairman of the district board of commissioners.

The well has been shut down, and the district plans to build a facility known as an air stripper to remove the contaminants from the well and disperse them into the air, Kosinski said.

If the town board approves the $20,895,000 bond, construction on the air stripper will begin next month and be ready by the summer, he said.

"This thing clobbered us," Kosinski said.

The tax impact from the bond would only affect residents served by the water district.

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Roslyn Water is a special-use district within the town, and as such cannot borrow money by itself. It plans to add another $1.7 million of its own funds to construct the air stripper building with an attached silo-like structure, used to force air through the contaminated water.

The well, one of eight well sites in the district, needs to be operational by the summer, when demand for water peaks, Kosinski said.

But some residents have concerns they say remain unaddressed. Among them is Jacklyn Auerbach, whose family purchased a home last year in Roslyn Estates next to the water district's property.

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Auerbach said she's worried about where the contaminants will go once they've been pulled from the water.

"How can you even know what the environmental impact is?" Auerbach said. "If what they're doing is completely legitimate and by the book and procedural and safe, fine, but they're not answering those questions."

While the well is within Roslyn Estates, the village does not have control over what is built there, said Mayor Jeff Schwartzberg.

But, he said, he felt the water district was "operating in good faith."

"We intend to stay on top of this project and make sure our voices are heard and our concerns are satisfactorily addressed," Schwartzberg said.

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The district serves about 5,800 residential and commercial customers, according to its website.

An earlier version of this story did not reflect other projects being part of the bond.

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