Sep 14, 2007

Town Joins Great Neck Push to Reassign Sewer Funds

The Town of North Hempstead has joined with two wastewater treatment plants serving the Great Neck peninsula in lobbying the DEC to reallocate $18 million to meet an Environmental Protection Agency mandate for reduced nitrogen levels in the Long Island Sound.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation awarded the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District and the Great Neck Village Sewer Department the grant in 2004 to divert waste flow to a Nassau County facility at Cedar Creek.

Town officials are balking, saying that plan would cost much more than $18 million, and instead, they want to use the money to offset the expense of upgrading the current treatment facilities. "It would be inequitable and downright unfair for Great Neck residents to have to bear the entire burden themselves," North Hempstead Supervisor Jon Kaiman said.

Town officials said that the DEC provided millions of dollars in grant money for upgrades of sewer treatment plants across the North Shore and that the Great Neck plants were the only ones where the DEC grants were solely for diversion.

DEC officials said the $18-million grant was specifically earmarked for diversion.

"By opting to not proceed with the diversion project, the district knowingly abandoned the previously awarded funds," state DEC spokeswoman Lori O'Connell said.