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Glen Cove may spend $285G on equipment to remove contaminant

Mike Colangelo, a water service foreman for the

Mike Colangelo, a water service foreman for the City of Glen Cove, takes a sample on Jan. 25 from a drinking-water well at a water facility control room in Glen Cove. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

The Glen Cove City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on buying and installing equipment to remove a contaminant that has kept two city water wells closed for months.

Council members will vote whether to spend an estimated $285,000 to buy the shell of a used air stripper to remove Freon 22 from wells that the Nassau County Department of Health ordered closed — one in November, the other in January — after elevated levels of the refrigerant were detected in the water. The dollar amount will be finalized before Tuesday’s meeting, city spokeswoman Lisa Travatello said.

Officials want to buy the used air stripper, a tool used for the purification of groundwater and wastewater containing volatile compounds, because the planned installation of a new, custom-built air stripper at another, now-shuttered well — which in the past also had Freon 22 problems — wouldn’t be complete until next year, too late for the surge in water usage that occurs each summer. Not buying the used equipment would risk leaving the city without enough water this summer, Mayor Timothy Tenke said.

“We don’t really have a lot of options here,” Councilwoman Pamela Panzenbeck said during a discussion of the air stripper at Tuesday’s council work session. “We have to provide water.”

The city hopes to have the air stripper on line by June, city water operator John Ingram said.

Meanwhile, city officials asked the health department on March 16 for permission to reactivate one of the recently closed wells because Freon levels have dropped far below the state maximum level for the refrigerant for more than two months, Travatello said. The reactivation would only be while Freon 22 levels remain low, she said. The health department is reviewing the request, agency spokeswoman Mary Ellen Laurain said.

The neighboring Locust Valley Water District has agreed to sell the city 1 million gallons of water a day this summer if needed, Ingram said. Once the air stripper is operating, the city would only need that extra water if water use is unusually high on particular days, he said.

The city is planning to buy the shell of the air stripper from Melville-based Philip Ross Industries, add new equipment and then, subject to health department approval, install it so it connects with underground storage tanks, said Michael Colangelo, Glen Cove’s water service foreman.

The total cost to install the air stripper is estimated at about $860,000, including up to $107,000 for design and construction oversight for Woodbury-based D&B Engineers and Architects PC that will be voted on Tuesday, Travatello said. The council meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

Glen Cove eventually will need a new air stripper for the three Duck Pond Road wells, the two that are closed and a third well at the site, Tenke said. That, plus the other custom-built air stripper, may cost more than $12 million, officials said.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is continuing to investigate the cause of the contamination and plans to install monitoring wells to determine the extent and possible sources of the Freon 22, the agency said in an email Friday.

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