The North Hempstead Town Board has approved $20.9 million in bonds for Roslyn Water District projects, including the plan to construct an air stripper to address contamination in one of its wells.
Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth rounded out the board's 7-0 vote Tuesday night to approve the bonds, but warned the district must better communicate with its residents and community representatives.
Once all the bonds are issued, the average home valued at $658,000 will pay an additional $153.65 per year in taxes, district officials said.
Residents and local officials had criticized the district for inadequately alerting customers about its plan to build the air stripper at its well on Diana's Trail in Roslyn Estates to address Freon 22 contamination in the water.
"Much of this initiative hasn't been handled as we hoped, but it would be irresponsible for us to hold funding back," Bosworth said, adding that the district needed to begin regularly meeting with town and local officials, in addition to its customers.
The district brought its bonding request to the town last month, saying the air stripper needed to be built by this summer to get the contaminated well back online and meet the season's peak water demand. The board put off the vote, sending the district back to meet with customers.
Residents at Tuesday's meeting reiterated their concerns about the possible health effects of the air stripper, which is designed to take the Freon out of the water and send it into the air at levels the district said are not hazardous.
"Even if I keep all my windows closed, it's going to come in through the A/C system," said Adam Krupp, who lives next to the Diana's Trail well site. Krupp and other residents urged the district to instead consider putting the air stripper in Christopher Morley Park, a short distance from village borders and away from homes.
District officials said they could put it in the park if the necessary permissions could be secured from Albany within six weeks, the deadline by which they would need to start designing the facility for a specific site.
Bosworth described it as "a very small window," but she and other town council members said they would be willing to try and make it happen.
District Superintendent Richard Passariello said Wednesday he was gratified by the board's approval of the bonds and added that the district would comply with the town's demands. "We're going to use all our resources to make sure we keep an open line of communication throughout this entire process," he said.
But some residents left the meeting unsatisfied.
"I'm disappointed," Roslyn Estates homeowner Brett Auerbach said. "To say that we only have six weeks to look for alternatives is concerning."