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Farmingdale widens search for water supplier

Farmingdale's years-long search for a new water supplier has been expanded to include the South Farmingdale Water District, which met this week with village leaders.

South Farmingdale joins Bethpage Water District and Suffolk County Water Authority in vying for a contract.

"We're going to put together a proposal to help the village in any way they need," South Farmingdale Water District business manager Leonard Constantinopoli said Thursday. "It is not our intention to take over their district, but to provide them with water and to provide them with management-type services."

Constantinopoli did not detail terms of the proposal, but said the district hopes to submit it in about three weeks.

Farmingdale, whose aging water system has been strained by population growth, cannot drill a well to meet its needs for fear of contamination by an incoming toxic plume from the old Grumman plant in Bethpage and has been advised to seek water outside village borders.

Bethpage and SCWA had appeared to be finalists in a race where water rates as well as funding for infrastructure improvements are being weighed.

Bethpage's final proposal is also expected within three weeks, Farmingdale Mayor Ralph Ekstrand said. SCWA's proposal has not changed, as it offers a flat rate. "We're going to sit down and make an Excel spreadsheet with all the numbers for all the proposals and make a justification for which is best for our residents," Ekstrand said.

Village officials met Monday with South Farmingdale representatives, one week after trustees passed a home rule message asking Albany to expand SCWA's service boundaries to include Farmingdale. The enabling legislation would require sponsors in the State Assembly and Senate. Ekstrand declined to comment on the status of the home rule message.

He reiterated, however, that the village will take its time in choosing a water provider. "This is a multimillion-dollar proposal for 30 years . . . It deserves careful consideration."

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