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Wantagh pumping station to ease water woes

(l-r) Councilwoman Angie Cullin, New York American Water

(l-r) Councilwoman Angie Cullin, New York American Water President William Varley and Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray ceremonial break ground on the new state of the art pumping station that will be built in Wantagh. (March 20, 2013) Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

New York American Water and Hempstead Town officials unveiled Thursday a new, state-of-the-art well pumping station in Wantagh -- the result of a public-private partnership to find an alternative to a controversial 150-foot-tall water tower proposed by the area's previous water company.

The pumping system being installed includes a new well, piping and pumps that will be housed within two small, one-story structures on American Water's property on Demott Avenue and Interlake Drive.

The new system will help alleviate chronic low water pressure issues and enhance flow for fire protection during critical high-demand usage periods in the area, officials said.

"This is another example of New York American Water's commitment to investing in essential infrastructure and providing innovative solutions to meet our customer needs," American Water president William Varley said in a statement. "This system will not only incorporate state-of-the-art technology, but it will increase the system's efficiency in meeting demand during critical peak usage periods."

The plan proposed in 2011 by the previous water operator, Aqua New York Inc., called for erecting a water tower, which company officials said was needed to boost pressure. Residents opposed the project, saying the tower would be an eyesore and would reduce property values.

Aqua later dropped the plan, and the company was purchased by American Water in May 2012.

Hempstead Town officials and residents of Wantagh and Seaford worked with American Water to develop an alternative that would be less intrusive and help solve water pressure issues.

"A water tower was simply not the answer for this residential neighborhood," Councilwoman Angie Cullin said in a statement. "I am proud of the efforts of our local officials and neighbors to come up with a better solution to the problem."

American Water is planning to begin construction in the next couple of weeks and anticipates completion by the third quarter of this year, Varley said.

"Water is essential to life, and is why we came together as a team of concerned stakeholders to form a cutting-edge solution to low water pressure in the Wantagh and Seaford communities," Town Supervisor Kate Murray said in a statement.

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