Dix Hills Water District customers could see a surcharge for...

Dix Hills Water District customers could see a surcharge for upgrades to keep up with state drinking water standards. Credit: Morgan Campbell

Huntington Town is seeking public input on a proposal to add a surcharge to Dix Hills Water District customers to fund water improvement projects. 

If the town passes the measure, customers could pay $120 a year for upgrades aimed at keeping up with state drinking water standards, town officials said.

The town also is proposing to bond $7.7 million for the upgrades within the district. 

The town on March 12 will hold three separate public hearings, on the surcharge and two bond approvals. 

Town board member Dave Bennardo said the money will go toward buying water filtering systems and expenses related to the removal of contaminants such as 1,4-dioxane, PFOS and PFOA from the district's 17 supply wells. 

The district serves approximately 8,400 homes and businesses.

The state Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council in 2020 set maximum contaminant levels of 1 part per billion for 1,4-dioxane, an industrial solvent also present in some household products, as well as 10 parts per trillion each for perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, found in firefighting foams, and perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, used in nonstick and stain-resistant products.

PFOS and PFOA are part of the classification of chemicals known as PFAS; 1,4-dioxane is a synthetic industrial solvent that is also found in trace amounts in some household and personal care products, such as laundry detergent. 

The substances, also known as "forever chemicals" because they don’t break down easily, have been linked to immune system problems, cancers and other health impacts, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which has also classified 1,4-dioxane as a likely human carcinogen.

District officials said all water delivered to customers is treated and meets safety standards.

The average residential customer pays $56.50 per quarter while commercial customers pay $53 for the same period. If the plan is approved, each customer will be billed an additional $30 quarterly, or $120 a year.

“The government keeps lowering the 1,4-dioxane and other contaminant thresholds to make water safer, which is wonderful, but that puts intense pressure on water districts,” Bennardo said.

The board at a public hearing on March 12 will seek approval for a $3 million bond to build and implement wellhead treatment improvements to plant number 8. A bond in December 2022 approved $3.7 million for the $6.7 million project.

A third public hearing seeks to approve bonding $4.7 million to purchase smart water meters.

The district pays the town $850,000 a year to pay for administrative costs, including vehicle maintenance, accounting and legal services. Town board members serve as administrators to the district, which employs a staff of 14.

The district has a four-member, nonvoting advisory committee made up of residents.

Jared Hershkowitz, who said he is the leader of the committee, said the committee has no comment. 

Jill Kaufman, a Dix Hills resident for 30 years, said she only heard about the proposed increase this week.

“What’s upsetting is the lack of communication and transparency,” she said. “We are two weeks out from a public hearing and there has been zero notification and explanation.”

She also questioned why the district would have such an important hearing to discuss a tax hike during the day.

Water District Superintendent John Hennessey referred questions to the town board.

Town board member Sal Ferro said keeping up with state mandates can be expensive.

“But we have no choice” he said.

“We want to provide the safest water at the lowest possible price but in order to do that we have to do these expensive upgrades.”

Dix Hills Water District proposals

  • The Huntington Town Board plans to add a $120 a year surcharge to Dix Hills Water District customers to pay for upgrades.
  • The board will hold three separate public hearings to consider the surcharge and to bond a total of $7.7 million for infrastructure improvements.
  • The public hearings will be held March 12, 2 p.m. at Town Hall, 100 Main St.
Diller case in court … Million dollar communities … WNBA draft Credit: Newsday

Updated 13 minutes ago Teen pleads not guilty in gun case ... Diller case in court ... More chemical drums found ... 'Project Prom'

Diller case in court … Million dollar communities … WNBA draft Credit: Newsday

Updated 13 minutes ago Teen pleads not guilty in gun case ... Diller case in court ... More chemical drums found ... 'Project Prom'

Latest videos

Newsday LogoSUBSCRIBEUnlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months
ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME