Port Water District Puts Limitations On Service Connections

Port Washington Water District places moratorium on new service connections. (Photo by Caroline Ryan)

On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the Port Washington Water District (PWWD) announced that they will be placing a moratorium on new service connections for commercial properties and mixed-use developments for residents in the Port Washington Water District. The PWWD, which has been in operation since 1913, is a public drinking water provider serving more than 30,000 residents in North Hemsptead, including the villages of Port Washington North, Manorhaven, Baxter Estates, Flower Hill and Plandome Manor.

“Our responsibility as the Port Washington community’s water provider is to safeguard our ability to most effectively meet [the] current demand and seamlessly provide water to our residents,” Port Washington Water District Board of Commissioners Chairman David Brackett said. “It is with this in mind, and hours of conversation and deliberation, we have made the decision to put this policy into action.”

“The moratorium is basically states no new connections other than a single family home, which we will treat on an as-needed basis,” Tal Vacchio Superintendent of the Port Washington Water District said. On July 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Health Department’s recommendation for a 1,4-dioxane maximum contaminant level (MCL) of 1 part per billion (ppb). Currently, the PWWD doesn’t need to treat the three contaminated wells because they are under the current standards needed for remediation. Since there is no word yet as to when NYS will implement a standard regulation for 1,4-dioxane, the PWWD is placing this moratorium as a precaution.

“The district supports any regulation that provides added protections to our community’s water quality,” Port Washington Water District commissioner Peter Meyer said. “We will never supply water to our residents that violates an MCL. The proposed timeline for implementation of the State’s pending MCLs presents an unprecedented challenge in meeting water demands during peak summer months.”

“Anybody who had demolished a home and was going to build a new home prior to Oct. 30 will be considered for a single family [service connection],” Vacchio said. “Right now, we are waiting for the New York State Health Department to make a decision on what they are going to [bring] the standard down to. Until that time, we are taking a proactive approach to start looking to put treatment on the wells that might be impacted. If for some reason they lower the standards, then we might have to take those three wells off line. We are trying to protect the people that already have water by not putting anymore demand on our system.”

The district will keep this moratorium in effect until it is able to meet the existing demand in the community and implement necessary treatment technology for the emerging contaminants.

“Nothing is more important to us than the quality and integrity of our water,” Port Washington Water District Commissioner Mindy Germain said. “We have and will continue to work proactively, efficiently and with the best interests of our residents in mind to ensure the District is protected against these emerging contaminants for decades to come.”

The water district meets it’s highest demands for water in the summer months of June, July and August, when many residents are watering their lawns, using their sprinklers or refilling their pools. The PWWD will be mailing residents informational packets for tips on how they can best conserve water when demands are at their highest peak.
Under Nassau County regulations, throughout the entire year, residents’ outdoor water usage is restricted to odd number days for odd number houses and even numbered days for even numbered houses. Additionally, outdoor water usage is not permitted between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. The PWWD is looking as to whether or not they will need to place stricter regulations on lawn irrigation in the coming months.

“To lessen the demand on our system, we are also not allowing any new irrigation systems at the present time,” Vacchio said. “If we do, it will have to meet our regulations with smart controllers that prevent watering in times or rain. We are really preaching conservation on this.”

The PWWD also recommends residents install a smart irrigation controllers. These controllers have built-in water saving features, including a sensor to adjust to the optimal sprinkler run time based on the local weather conditions. This product ultimately helps to conserve water and reduces costs for the homeowner.

“We are also developing an action plan with our engineers, the board and myself of how to handle this,” Vacchio said. “Over the winter we are going to be throwing a lot of stuff out to the consumers. We will be mailing a lot of suggestions on water conservation on this subject. We plan to communicate with the residents on an on-going basis.”

For any questions, contact the Port Washington Water District at 516-767-0171 or by email at info@pwwd.org, or visit www.pwwd.org.

—Additional information provided by the Port Washington Water District


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