Nassau County Executive Laura Curran was joined on February 1 by New York State Senators Todd Kaminsky and Elaine Phillips as well as Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth and Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito, of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) at a press conference to request that the NYS DEC complete a scientific study before renewing a permit which would allow New York City to pump water from a series of wells in Queens. The attendees are all signators on a letter to the DEC that recommends conditions of the permit renewal.
“We are together today to ask the DEC to take notice of the amount of concern we have about renewing the permit to use the wells before we know the science,” said County Executive Curran. “Without the science, we will not know the real impact of New York City drawing water from the Lloyd aquifer.”
Western Nassau County Aquifer Committee Founder Mindy Germain, Nassau County water suppliers, and dozens of supporters were in attendance at the conference.
“Our aquifers are already under assault and years of over pumping and mismanagement are contaminating the groundwater. The pristine Lloyd aquifer is a birthright for Long Islanders and a source of water for the rest of the state in case of a catastrophic emergency. Casual drilling into the Lloyd without demonstrated urgency is grave mistake that we cannot afford to make. That is why I have joined a bipartisan coalition of legislators urging the DEC to refrain from issuing any permits until a study on its impacts is completed,” said New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky.
Ensuring that our Long Island drinking water remains safe for current residents and future generations has been a top priority of mine since I assumed office,” Senator Phillips said. “The reactivation of these wells presents a serious threat to Long Island’s sole source aquifer, and a renewal for New York City could be a denial of Long Islanders’ right to clean water. It is truly gratifying to see the broad representation of groups here.”
“Our drinking water supply is a precious and finite resource, not just here on Long Island, but across the country and across the world. We must stand together as the guardians of that resource as it is threatened by a proposed plan that would reopen 68 dormant ground water wells causing a massive drain on our water supply system that would have devastating effects,” said Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth.
“Long Island relies 100% on groundwater for our drinking water. Our aquifer system is already facing critical challenges with water quality and quantity. The city’s demand to put a straw into our aquifers may lead to the acceleration of saltwater intrusion, redirect toxic plumes, and lower the water table of streams and tributaries. Good policy is driven by good science. DEC needs to wait until the science is in before any permitting occurs,” said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
There are 68 public wells within the former Jamaica Water Supply company in Queens. Currently New York City holds a permit permitting the wells to send water into the city system in a time of extreme need. Although the permit expired in 2017, the renewal was put in motion. The group is recommending the DEC hold off renewing the permit until the Phase I findings of a USGS/DEC study are available. In addition, they request that a comprehensive water resources management plan is prepared for Long Island.
“We need to do everything we can to ensure that Long Island’s water supply is plentiful and safe,” said County Executive Curran.