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Letters: Clean water a major concern for Long Island

Farmingdale State College student Erick Baez of Bay

Farmingdale State College student Erick Baez of Bay Shore, 28, taste tests samples of local drinking water during the 32nd annual Best Tasting Water Contest, hosted by the Long Island Water Conference at Farmingdale State College on May 9, 2017. Credit: Barry Sloan

The primary mission of the members of the Long Island Water Conference is to always provide drinking water that meets or surpasses all quality standards. This is why we fully support New York State’s effort to create an enforceable regulation for 1,4-dioxane and its expedient implementation, despite a complaint by the Citizens Campaign for the Environment advocacy group that it will take too long [“More action, info on 1,4-dioxane needed,” Letters, Feb. 24].

But implementing treatment for 1,4-dioxane is extremely complicated and specific to each well site. Each system will require design, planning, construction, operational startup and training, to name just a few steps. Unfortunately, much of the process — most notably, obtaining regulatory approval — is out of our hands. Remediating 1,4-dioxane from groundwater is not a matter of flipping a switch and making it all go away.

The public should know that Long Island water suppliers have historically been, and will continue to be, proactive in addressing existing and emerging chemical contaminants, both through testing and the development of innovative treatment technology.

Tyrand Fuller,

  Bay Shore

Editor’s note: The writer, a hydrogeologist, is chairman of the Long Island Water Conference, a coalition of suppliers and industry representatives, and director of strategic initiatives at the Suffolk County Water Authority.


The Feb. 18 cover story, “$850M to clean LI’s water,” was another water contaminant wake-up call for Long Island. The alarming price tag is the cost of custodial neglect. Why isn’t vigilant oversight ever tried? Preventing groundwater contamination, and protecting the Island’s drinking water supply, are critical responsibilities of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. However, I believe the DEC has failed at both.

The way to end the neglect, prevent future contamination and control treatment costs is to form a science-based groundwater oversight agency on Long Island, free from political and purveyor conflicts of interest, dedicated solely to managing our aquifer system and vigilantly protecting its drinking-water supply.

Gerald Ottavino,

  Point Lookout

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of Water for Long Island, an advocacy organization.

Child care a challenge for local communities

As an educator and the parent of a toddler, I couldn’t agree more with the finding that Long Island lags in the availability of quality child care and early education [“Forum: LI a laggard in early ed,” News, Feb. 15].

However, there is day care on Long Island that gets it right: The Children’s Greenhouse at Nassau Community College. For almost 40 years, the Greenhouse has provided high-quality, lost-cost day care (ages 2 months to prekindergarten) that primarily serves young student parents of the college, as well as faculty. Tuition is on a sliding scale. Faculty subsidize student rates, and students can use some of their financial aid.

Although national data reveal disappointing graduation rates for community college students, NCC student parents have a high rate of academic success, in part because of the services from the Greenhouse. More than half of Greenhouse student parents have a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher. Graduates’ professional achievement enables them to contribute to our local economy. The Greenhouse is an exemplar in early child care for other institutions.

Gina Sipley,

Glen Head

Editor’s note: The writer is on the board of the Greenhouse and is an NCC faculty member.


Please make child care affordable again. The cost to send a child or children to day care is ridiculous. Who can afford to work, feed and clothe a child and then pay an outrageous amount for child care? Families are struggling to keep up.

Kerri McCall,



Universal public school prekindergarten has devastated nursery schools and day care services in my community since it was implemented several years ago. Most have gone out of business. They cannot compete with “free” public school programs no matter how outstanding the school is. Of course, taxpayers are paying for it. With universal pre-K, the government has added another grade to the school system. Higher taxes drive away young middle-class families.

Private schools have been thrown to the wayside. We created jobs for ourselves and hundreds of others over the decades, provided an excellent community service and gave parents choices. We never asked for government funds, operating solely on tuition paid by families.

Instead of universal pre-K, the government would have spent less by expanding existing programs only for needy residents.

If parents at my private nursery school can afford the tuition when a child is 3 years old, they can afford it the next year when the child is 4. But they can’t resist the “free” public school.

Cheryl Spaccarotella,


Editor’s note: The writer is the owner-director of Kiddie Kollege Nursery School in Patchogue.