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Glen Cove waits for Freon test result before reopening well

Mike Colangelo, water service foreman in Glen Cove,

Mike Colangelo, water service foreman in Glen Cove, takes a sampling from a drinking-water well in January to send for testing. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

Glen Cove officials said they hope to get permission from Nassau County this week to reopen one of the water wells shut down because of Freon 22 contamination.

Meanwhile, city workers are installing a Freon-removing air stripper to open the other shuttered well.

The Nassau County Health Department ordered two of the three wells off Duck Pond Road closed — the first, Well 30, in November and the second, Well 31, in January — because of elevated levels of the refrigerant. Exposure to high levels of airborne Freon 22 has been linked in studies of laboratory animals to nervous system and heart problems.

Freon 22 levels in Well 30 dropped to nondetectable levels by late January, and the city received county permission in late March to reopen it. But officials first needed to install a system that filters out other contaminants and bacteria. That was done, and the city is now awaiting the results of a Friday test of Well 30 water to ensure Freon 22 levels are still nondetectable or below county limits. Those results are expected later this week, said health department spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain.

The air stripper is to remove Freon from Well 30, if it returns, and from Well 31. Mayor Timothy Tenke said it should be operating by mid- or late July.

The city spent $858,000 to buy the shell of a used air stripper and new equipment to tide Glen Cove over during the summer months while a permanent, custom-built air stripper is installed at another well, on Seaman Road. That well has been closed since 2011 because of Freon 22 and structural problems. The Seaman well is expected to reopen in late 2019, Tenke said.

In May, before a well on Kelly Street was reopened after non-Freon-related repairs, the city purchased water from the neighboring Locust Valley Water District for one day, to ensure residents and businesses had enough water, Tenke said. The city did so again on Monday because of “excessive heat and irrigation needs of our residents,” city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello said.

With the Kelly well open, “we have sufficient water supply in the city but we’re still asking the residents to conserve,” Tenke said.

The city eventually plans to install an air stripper for $7 million to $10 million for all three wells at Duck Pond.

The third Duck Pond well has consistently had nondetectable or low levels of Freon 22, but the county health department has warned that Freon could one day migrate into that well.

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