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Letter to the Editor, Newsday

The following is a response from former NSWCA President and current Long Island Water Conference Chairman and NSWCA Executive Board member Andrew Bader to a recent Newsday editorial of March 31, 2021.

Consolidating LI water providers? A bad idea.

The real problem isn’t the number of water suppliers in Nassau County, it is the pricing/taxing structure of one investor-owned water supplier (“Public fix for private water,” Editorial March31).  If the issues are resolved, the discussion of consolidation becomes null and void, as putting all water providers under one umbrella resolves nothing.

When has an all-encompassing Long Island utility proved it is more effective at providing service than a smaller one? Need we remind everyone of the failures of PSEG Long Island during Tropical Storm Isaias?

Consolidating water providers does not mean we need fewer water mains, wells or treatment facilities. There are little to no economies of scale in this regard. It also likely means the cost of water will go up for the majority of Long Islanders due to the significant debt burden. Why should the vast majority of residents who are happy with their water provider subsidize the cost for the buyout of another? What does the average resident gain?

Water is important, and consolidating control could be scary. The current structure provides accountability and responsiveness, things that can be lost with one overarching utility.

Andrew N. Bader, Plainview

Editor’s note:  The writer is Long Island Water Conference Chairman and  Executive Board member of Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioner’s Association.

R.I.P. Commissioner Edward A. Cetta Sr.

Former Greenlawn Water Commissioner Edward A. Cetta Sr. (1930 – 2021)  passed away on March 11th at the age of 90. Ed was a Greenlawn Water Commissioner from 1980 – 1985, a member of the Long Island Water Conference (LIWC) as well as a member of the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA).

Visitation will be held on March 21, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. at Forest Lawn Funeral Home, 2401 Southwest 64th Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Funeral service will be held on March 21, 2021 at 12:00 P.M. at Forest Funeral Home. Committal Service will be held on March 21, 2021 at 1:00 P.M. at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens.

 

New 2021 NSWCA Board

Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA) Elects New 2021 Board

Plainview Water Commissioner Amanda Field named President

February 22, 2021, Carle Place, New York, USA…….At a recent Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA) virtual meeting sponsored by the Port Washington Water District, the Association elected a new Board for the 2021 term, which runs through December 31, 2021.

The newly elected NSWCA 2021 Board includes incoming President Amanda Field of the Plainview Water District who succeeds outgoing President William Schuckmann of the Hicksville Water District; 1st Vice President John F. Coumatos of the Bethpage Water District; 2nd Vice President Patricia Peterson of the Locust Valley Water District; Secretary Joseph Perry of the South Huntington Water District; and Treasurer Michael J. Kosinski, Chairman of the Roslyn Water District.

 

“Our organization is composed entirely of commissioners elected by the voters of our 21 districts to represent their best interests in the compliance, conservation, safety and economics of water supply,” President Field stated. “Having faced a difficult 2020 including the rigors of the COVID-19 virus, summertime drought, as well as new treatment planning and implementation island-wide, our membership is poised to ensure another year of protecting and serving our island’s most vital resource with an uninterrupted water supply.”

President Field added “I believe that our new 2021 Board brings together a group of commissioners whose talents, years of experience and dedication to serving the public will foster a collaborative atmosphere that features science, education and a continued delivery of public information to our communities. We will continue to emphasize conservation and environmentalism for long term sustainability as a means to overcome production challenges, be compliant with our regulatory partners in government, and to protect the health of our sole source aquifer.”

Ground Penetrating Radar and Leak Detection

Carle Place NY, USA . . . A recent Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association Education Series meeting held remotely by teleconference focused on the topic of Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) and its numerous advantages for water suppliers. The New York Leak Detection (NYLD)  team based in Jamesville, New York, led by Zander Seaman made the presentation.

“GPR is a non-invasive imaging technology that uses high-frequency radio waves to detect subsurface objects”, stated Zander Seaman, Subsurface Consultant. “It is ideal for organizations seeking to avoid costly delays or damages that can occur when underground obstructions are unexpectedly encountered. GPR works by beaming high-frequency radio wave pulses into the ground and interpreting reflections received at the surface. The resulting images are similar to x-rays but without the risks of radiography. Field technicians interpret the images to determine the location and depth of utility installations, geologic formations and other objects in real time.”

 

 

In addition to the discussion on GPR and its use in locating underground structures, the NYLD presentation covered the theory of leak detection. Leak detection is the employment of advanced technologies to accurately locate a leak on a buried pipeline. The discussion included equipment employed in identifying and locating water leaks, the coordination effort between water department operators and the leak survey crews, and the advantages of system-wide leak detection surveys among other topics. The presentation was followed by a detailed Q&A session. New York Leak President Mike Goodfellow and Director of Operations Steve Darcangelo participated in the presentation and the lively Q&A session.

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Ground Penetrating Radar is a tool that is finding great acceptance in many fields, especially in environmentally sensitive applications,” stated NSWCA President and Hicksville Water District Commissioner William Schuckmann. “For example, for water suppliers and others in the water industry, GPR can determine depth to bedrock or water tables and identify metallic and non-metallic pipelines, water mains, subterranean storage tanks and cable banks. I greatly appreciate the detailed presentation that the representatives of NYLD gave to our audience.

The meeting was hosted by Massapequa Water District, with former NSWCA President and current Massapequa Water District Commissioner Raymond Averna providing the history of the District.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About NYLD: Founded in the early 90’s, New York Leak Detection, Inc. is a Subsurface Utility Engineering firm specializing in leak detection, underground utility locating, subsurface piping video inspection and subsurface infrastructure asset management.  They have assisted numerous municipalities, utilities, construction companies and developers nationwide obtain the information they need to solve a variety of subsurface utility problems.  NYLD offers Utility Location, Utility Mapping, Leak Detection, Valve Exercising, Video Inspection and other services to help organizations reduce operating costs, improve efficiency and maintain infrastructure so that they may better service their customers.

Andy Bader New LIWC Chairman

Plainview Water Commissioner and former NSWCA President Andy Bader has been elected Chairman of the Long Island Water Conference (LIWC).

“I am extremely honored to be entrusted with this position by all of our dedicated members,” Mr. Bader stated.  “Water is the most vital part of everyday life, and I look forward to continuing to ensure all Long Islanders receive the highest quality water possible.”

 

Mr. Bader, who was LIWC Vice Chairman  in 2020, has proudly served the Plainview community as Commissioner of the Water District since 2010. He served as President of the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioner’s Association in 2017 and is an active member of the American Water Works Association (AWWA).

Best of luck Andy!

Elected Long Island Water Commissioners Welcomed to NSWCA.

Voters in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have spoken recently electing or re-electing water commissioners in 21 Long Island commissioner-run water districts . Congratulations to all.

The Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA), https://www.nswcawater.org/ consists of voter-elected water commissioners who are collectively responsible for providing potable drinking water to more than 620,000 consumers.

NSWCA President and Hicksville Water District Commissioner William Schuckmann commented, “Our members are unique in the water industry in that every Commissioner is elected by voters within each respective water district. This ensures that the majority views and opinions of the residents in each community are respected.

Every vote counts and every vote is counted. Given the impact of economics and environmental issues like water quality and conservation, this is more important today than ever before. I’m pleased to welcome all our new commissioners and returning colleagues in both Nassau County and Suffolk County as NSWCA members.”

The NSWCA congratulates the following water commissioners on their election and on NSWCA membership:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Infrastructure & COVID-19

The Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA), was recently addressed on industry changes and COVID-19 by Michael Beyer, President of Bancker Construction Corporation (Islandia, NY).

“There is a new space race today, and this one is underground,” Mr. Beyer stated. “On Long Island it involves lane issues for limited real estate, essentially creating a competitive environment for utilities such as electric, gas and water services. Given the region’s aging infrastructure, the need for an overriding management plan is paramount to secure the delivery of future services.”

Mr. Beyer also discussed safety measures that his organization has taken with the advent of the COVID-19 virus pandemic.

“Education begins with training our own people about the hazards of the coronavirus, health surveys each morning, and providing the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This includes the use of masks and social distancing, sanitary processes like hand washing stations on all vehicles, and nightly truck sanitizing. Communications outreach to educate the public is the key to project success, including timing and project scope. At Bancker, we canvass the neighborhoods, outreach to homeowners in the affected zone via social media and continually work to make customers part of the process.”

NSWCA President and Hicksville Water District Commissioner Mr. William Schuckmann commented, “our Association represents 21 voter-elected Long Island water districts, who have the day in, day out responsibility of providing potable drinking water to more than 620,000 consumers. We are grateful to Mr. Michael Beyer for his state of the industry update and future outlook. Given the need for conservation and long term sustainability, and in view of aging infrastructure and other industry changes, we will continue to seek greater efficiencies and cost savings while continuing to be compliant with all New York State, federal and local regulations.”

 

Education Series: Reviewing Budgets

Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association at Virtual Meeting To Review Budget Process And Monitoring Of Financial Performance

Recognized Accounting Expert From JKL Municipal Accounting Solutions, LLC Leads Presentation

Carle Place, NY, USA . . . As part of their on-going and Continuing Education Speaker Series, the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA), which represents 21 separate Long Island based water districts, assembled for a virtual meeting on August 26, for a special seminar organized and conducted by JKL Municipal Accounting Solutions, LLC of Smithtown, NY.

Ms. Jill K. Gunzel-Lemke, CPA and Managing Member of JKL Municipal Accounting Solutions, led the presentation on the importance of proper budgetary planning, including revenue and expenditure estimates; proper implementation of a budget; and the continued monitoring along with the resulting financial performance of the budgets within the water districts.  Ms. Lemke is the managing member of JKL Municipal Accounting Solutions, LLC and possesses over 20 years of experience working with governmental entities. Having a significant concentration on financial statement preparation, reporting, accounting systems and controls, budgeting and planning, her extensive experience allows her to provide insight and advice to municipal clients on reporting, trends and best practices.

 

Hicksville Water District Commissioner and NSWCA President and William Schuckmann commented, “We were delighted with the presentation conducted by Jill. Running one of these sessions is challenging enough, but to handle this virtually has a whole other set of issues. Jill’s presentation was most informative and quite important to our members, as we are always cognizant of ways to improve operations, while also looking at both greater efficiencies and cost savings with our services at NSWCA. We thank Jill for sharing her insights, knowledge, and time with us.”

Granger Carey Virtual Training

 

NSWCA commissioners and water district superintendents attended a virtual training session on Monday, August 17th, 2020. NSWCA President William Schuckmann remotely welcomed over thirty Commissioners to the session and introduced noted industry guest speakers Paul Granger and Stan Carey, who provided updates on New York State Drinking Water Quality Council and LICAP.

Mr. Granger, who is Superintendent of Hicksville Water District and Mr. Carey, who is Superintendent of  the Massapequa Water District engaged the audience with a detailed update. Their presentation included a timeline beginning in 2013 and culminating in July 2020 with the NYS Public Health and Health Planning Council’s approval of  new regulations for 1,4 dioxane, PFOA and PFOS.

Below left:  Paul Granger. Below Right Stan Carey

 

 

 

 

 

Potential next actions were discussed including technical guidance regarding defining compliance testing requirements, deferment application and requirements, and initial sampling.  Mr. Granger and Mr. Carey pointed to the upcoming New York State Drinking Water Quality Council (NYSDWQC) meeting currently planned for early September and noted that compounds under consideration will include 1,2-Trichlopropane, perchlorate and additional perfluorinated compounds.

President Schuckmann observed the importance of current information in today’s world. “In our industry, where the uninterrupted delivery of clean water to millions is our primary goal, having up to date information is essential. Being aware of the latest compliance regulations is as important  as knowing about new technologies and potentially threatening weather situations like Tropical Storm Isaias. I thank Superintendents Granger and Carey for their research, opinions and advice.”

The Locust Valley Water District (LVWD) hosted the virtual meeting, and Commissioner Pat Peterson who is also the sitting NSWCA Secretary,  provided an overview and history of the District. Commissioner Peterson noted that the LVWD  will observe its 100th anniversary in 2021 and spoke of the impact of Tropical Storm Isaias and LVWD’s operations during the pandemic.

 

 

Left NSWCA President Bill Schuckmann; NSWCA Secretary Pat Peterson

 

 

All Photos:  PMG

 

 

 

Governor Cuomo, President Schuckmann

Cuomo, Schuckmann on New Standards for Emerging Contaminants.

In a groundbreaking move, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the adoption of a first-in-the-nation drinking water standard for the emerging contaminant 1,4-dioxane. The New York State Department of Health’s Public Health and Health Planning Council unanimously approved setting the maximum contaminant level of 1 part per billion* for 1,4-dioxane.

In addition, Governor Cuomo announced maximum contaminant levels for emerging contaminants PFOA and PFOS which are among the lowest in the nation at 10 parts per trillion**. These announcements follow a public comment period and approval by the Public Health and Health Planning Council. Every water provider in the state is required to meet all water quality requirements.

 

 

“The Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association (NSWCA) applauds the clarity and definition brought to the situation in New York State,” commented NSWCA President Bill Schuckmann. “Certainly, the 21 voter-elected NSWCA members and other water providers throughout Long Island where we have a single source aquifer, have aggressively pursued getting treatment systems up and running. The treatment systems, Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) and Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), are complex, and we are proud of the substantial progress that has been made to date in such a short amount of time.”According to figures released by the Long Island Water Conference (LIWC), Long Island water providers have collectively spent more than $150 million to date to design and construct state-of-the-art treatment facilities with another $350 million to be spent in the next 12 months, and an additional $350 million to be spent within the next five years.

“This is an extremely important issue that we are tackling head on,” Mr. Schuckmann added. “Our responsibility is to deliver the best drinking water possible for all our communities.  It’s that simple. The Long Island public can rest assured that we have been doing and will continue to do everything possible to fast-track each of these projects.”