Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners’ Association


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The Long Island Commission For Aquifer Protection (LICAP) recently held open public hearings and an NSWCA  delegation  was present totestified. The purpose of the hearing was to collect public input on protecting Long Island’s sole source aquifer and the LICAP’s draft State of the Aquifer report.

The NSWCA delegation was led by Karl M. Schweitzer (Commissioner Hicksville Water District), Thomas P. Hand, (Water Commissioner of the Massapequa Water District), and Vincent Abbatiello, Water Commissioner of the Westbury Water and Fire District.

Commissioner Schweitzer commented that the pre-eminent concern should be the clean up of toxic plumes, which “has dragged on for decades to the disadvantage of local suppliers who are all too often left to cope with circumstances that they did not create. The stakes are of the highest order. There is no margin for error and no excuse for prolonging an intolerable situation.”


L to R: Raymond J. Averna; Thomas P. Hand; Karl Schweitzer; Vincent Abbatiello.

“The sources of the toxic plumes are well known,” Commissioner Hand later added. “Since a core principle of our NSWCA mission is to provide a sustainable resource and to ensure the protection and efficient management of Long Island’s natural aquifer groundwater supply, LICAP must give toxic plumes the highest priority.”

Commissioner Schweitzer further testified, “The NSWCA is opposed to increasing bureaucracy and the formation of any aquifer management agency or water compact. Creating yet another agency, management board or water compact, merely further crowds an already overcrowded field, and makes effective action more difficult to achieve.”

“Since the NYSDEC is empowered with managing and regulating Long Island’s water,” Schweitzer added, “we believe that it is imperative that proper professional staffing be restored or additional staff added so that the NYSDEC can properly fulfill their mission.”

Commissioner Abbatiello further observed that the delegation also made additional recommendations for combatting nitrates, saltwater intrusion, and conducting a professional review of regulations to keep road salt out of shallow wells.

In commenting on the LICAP testimony, NSWCA President and Massapequa Water Commissioner Raymond Averna noted, “There is a great effort underway to understand, appreciate and manage our aquifer system. For sustainability, the NSWCA believes that professional action, stemming from a plan based on scientific fact, is the key to a non-political solution for all the communities that constitute Nassau and Suffolk counties.”