New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month that the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation Board of Directors approved $34.2 million in grants, interest-free loans and low-cost loans to support vital drinking water and wastewater infrastructure projects across New York State. The Port Washington Water District (PWWD) was among some of the few to have received funds totaling nearly $6.7 million for remediation of their drinking water wells.
“Access to clean water is an essential piece in building strong, vibrant communities and it’s critical our local partners have the resources they need to protect the health and safety of New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said. “With this funding in hand, communities throughout the state will now be able to make vital upgrades to key infrastructure like wastewater collection systems, disinfection systems and water storage tanks, helping to ensure water quality for their residents is protected generations to come.”
According to the press release, the Port Washington Water District received two Emerging Contaminants Grants in the amounts of $3,428,400 and $3,285,600 for the design and construction of a new treatment process at the existing water treatment facility to remove 1,4-dioxane and PFOA from the Stonytown Road and Hewlett wells.
On Aug. 26, 2020, New York State adopted new drinking water standards for public water systems that set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) of 10 parts per trillion (10 ppt) each for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and 1 part per billion (1 ppb) for 1,4-dioxane. These new regulations have impacted some of the districts water supply wells, which exhibit these contaminants at various concentrations. In order to remediate the wells, they will need to be treated with both an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) and a Nitrate Treatment System. While these wells are being treated, the district has implemented both conservation requirements and also made operational changes to ensure that the use of these wells are minimized or avoided while these treatments are being installed.
Despite the nearly $6.7 million in grant funding, the district needs additional funding to ensure critical needs such as treatment for contaminants and general infrastructure improvements are dealt with. On July 8, the District will be holding a public hearing regarding their capital improvement projects for 2021-25. According to Town of North Hempstead (TONH) Councilwoman Mariann Dalimonte’s District 6 newsletter, “The Port Washington Water District is proposing to begin the second phase of its capital improvement program this year. Ten projects are included in Phase 2. Each project has been identified as critical, based either on the need for emerging contaminants treatment or for general infrastructure improvement to maintain the system’s reliability. Many of the projects build upon projects which were initially identified in Phase 1 of the program in 2019. Projects in Phase 1 are finishing detailed design and heading into construction. The bond issue is necessary to allow for the construction phase to begin for certain projects and for the design and construction phases for other, new projects.”
The district is seeking a bond from the TONH for $37,779,000 for part of the funding required. Capital improvement projects named in Phase 2 include: AOP treatments, and nitrate treatment systems for some of the wells, several water main replacements, tank and system improvements, as well as administration building improvements, electrical improvements and other miscellaneous improvements for the district.
To date, the district has been awarded $18,076,600 in New York State Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) grants. This grant funding is being used for the projects that combat emerging contaminants such as those affecting the Hewlett, Stonytown and Morley Park Stations. If and when additional WIIA grands are available, the district will apply for those. If they are successful, the total amount of the bond will be decreased accordingly.”
Several community information meetings were held this month regarding the bond. The TONH will hold a public hearing on July 8 at 7:30 p.m. Residents who have additional questions, may contact Superintendent Tal Vacchio of the Port Washington Water District at 516-767-0171 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Additional information provided by the office of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Town of North Hempstead