Opinion

On behalf of the South Farmingdale Water District (SFWD) and the community we serve, the Board of Water Commissioners would like to take this opportunity to personally express our gratitude to U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) for supporting us in our time of need.

While officially approving the position of the SFWD, Senator Schumer issued a strongly worded request for the U.S. Navy and Department of Justice, urging them to follow through at once on the Navy's obligation to pay for the construction and operating costs needed for water treatment facilities at two South Farmingdale public water supply sites.

The two sites eventually will be impacted by contamination attributable to Naval operations from years past.

Senator Schumer could not have said it any clearer, "We are here to protect the taxpayer. They shouldn't have to pay for these treatment plants. The Navy knows they need to pay, and they've said so. Now they need to stop dragging their feet and pay up."

We (SFWD) have been pursuing a settlement with the Navy for nearly five years and while the Navy has been in general accord with the necessary treatment facilities, final resolution and execution of the settlement agreement has simply not been a priority within the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a prior commitment, the Navy agreed that if contamination from their site was identified in SFWD outpost monitoring wells that they would pay for all future costs incurred for the necessary treatment facilities or replacement wells. In 2004, our outpost monitoring wells indicated that they were impacted by contamination from the naval site at levels above the trigger values agreed to by the Navy, DEC and SFWD.

The proposed water treatment systems will provide the same quality of water we as consumers enjoy today, but action has to take place as soon as possible.

Following our press conference on Dec. 31, Senator Schumer sent a letter to the Navy asking them to commit to a timetable for reaching a final agreement on payment. Senator Schumer also noted that he would "...do what's necessary to get the Navy to attend to this immediately."

Again, the Board of Commissioners personally thanks the Senator for his valuable actions on getting the parties motivated to allocating funds to construct the necessary treatment facilities and attend to this high-priority public safety issue.

We invite members of the community to reach out to the water district if they have any questions or concerns about this issue. We also want to remind all our customers that our water is safe from any contaminants and it is 100 percent safe to drink. We will continue to update all our consumers on the progress of the situation.

The Board of Water Commissioners,

South Farmingdale Water District


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