The recent discovery of trace amounts of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in several of the Westbury Water District's 11 wells has spurred the district to borrow $6,131,900 from the Town of North Hempstead to advance the water system.
Improvements will include the construction of an additional well, the installation of water treatment equipment at two existing wells, and other infrastructure repairs.
While all water currently being delivered to customers has been treated and is not over the five-parts-per-million state guidelines for volatile organic chemicals, district Superintendent Italo Vacchio said he expects the levels to rise. "We want to be prepared," he said, "which is why we are installing the additional water-treatment equipment."
Vacchio said he suspected the chemicals were coming from sites in the New Cassel Industrial Area. He also named a laundromat on Post Ave. as a possible culprit.
The new well will meet the increased consumer demand for water, as well as provide a reserve supply in the event that other wells should fail. Remaining funds would be applied to the improvement of a 1.5 million gallon ground storage tank at the State St. pump station. The tank was constructed in 1956, and much of the cement is deteriorating. Other small infrastructure repairs will be made at other stations.
Vacchio said he expects taxes to residents to rise about 25 cents per $100 of assessed valuation over a period of 50 years to pay for the debt service on the bonds. However, he said the Westbury Water District is actively pursuing additional funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which would then be applied to the principal of the bonds.
Improvements should begin in late summer, pending DEC approval, and continue for several years.