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Letter: Take action on threats to LI water

Those living in the area have always

Those living in the area have always been intrigued by the lake's tendency to rise and fall periodically with no apparent relationship to rainfall. The most ferocious evidence of the lake's mysterious rise and fall occurred in 1891 when, stories say, the lake suddenly rose to a point where it completely engulfed beaches, boathouses and pavilions with no appreciable precipitation on Long Island. The American Indians believed the rise and fall to be the work of the great spirit of the lake. Legend says the Indians knew the god was particularly displeased whenever anyone drowned in the lake, and they believed he would make the water rise until it would overflow and cover the entire island. Tales of the lake's rise and fall did not end with the Indians, as settlers also witnessed it, with some reports saying the lake was generally believed to rise in intervals of 9 to 13 feet every seven years. This caused the mystery to be linked to the Lady of the Lake, with legend saying that the lake wept and overflowed for the two lovers in seven-year cycles -- the length of time their relationship. Credit: Brittany Wait

The article “Guv moves to save LI water” [News, Feb. 19] and Newsday’s editorial, “Gaining ground in water fight” [Feb. 19], verify my opinion that photo ops and headlines are more important to our politicians than results regarding the condition of our sole-source aquifer.

There’s no need for another $6 million study. The Long Island aquifer has been studied over and over. Anyone involved in water resources can identify the many local contamination sources. Most sites have been known for decades.

The Environmental Protection Agency, state Department of Environmental Conservation and our politicians vie for headlines, but no one is held responsible for enforcing the law and cleaning up toxic sites. Instead, deals are made to accept wellhead treatment as the answer.

How safe is the water coming out of wellhead treatment now? The answer is simple: Contain the plume, pump and treat, and return the water to the aquifer. It would require about $150 million to construct the hydraulic containment, transmission main and initial treatment facilities at the Navy-Northrop Grumman site in Bethpage. This is not much to ask from the Navy and Northrop Grumman.

In fact, if the regulatory agencies had made these entities pay about $10 million a year over the past 15 years, the cleanup already would have begun. That’s the period since the DEC accepted wellhead treatment.

John F. Caruso, Massapequa

Editor’s note: The writer is a past deputy commissioner in charge of water supply for the Nassau Department of Public Works.

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