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Aqua Expected to Withdraw Water Tower Application

The 158-foot structure and two accompanying buildings are allegedly being nixed in an announcement on Monday morning.

Aqua New York is expected to withdraw its application for a 158-foot water tower in Wantagh Monday morning at a press conference, according to a Town of Hempstead spokesperson.

“Thanks to the voices of the residents, Aqua is expected to hand a letter to the board of appeals requesting to withdraw,” the town spokesperson said.

After pleas from local community members, Town of Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray and Councilwoman Angie Cullen played a key role in this move in July by sending a letter to Aqua asking for them to consider a less intrusive plan and to hold a community meeting.

The company proposed the tower to address water pressure problems in its service area. The new tower was to be  built on DeMott Avenue in Wantagh, which is situated close to the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway, along with two one-story structures that would house a electrical/chemical  and water well at the same location. Aqua’s facility on Jefferson Street in Merrick often is at lower pressure levels than needed, according to Aqua officials.

“We have to do something to correct the water pressures that we have in the system,” Aqua New York  president Matt Snyder previously stated during a community meeting on the issue. “We have to come up with a project that alleviates this problem.”

The water tower, which has faced tough criticism from local Wantagh and Seaford residents, was scheduled for a hearing in front of the Town of Hempstead Board of Zoning Appeals on Aug. 10 after an original postponement from a hearing in June. Fred Parola of the Wantagh/Seaford Homeowner’s Association asked for the June hearing to be adjourned “so that community residents would have more time to learn about Aqua’s proposed project.”

Aqua held a community meeting at Wantagh High School on July 12 to discuss that, due to local community concerns, a more expensive alternative to the water tower would be considered. According to Snyder, the alternative proposal would include a ground storage tank. The tank would cost approximately $2.5 million, as opposed to the $2 million price tag for the water tower. Snyder added that “the operating costs would be more expensive.”

Many Wantagh and Seaford residents have voiced concerns about the water tower project. According to a Wantagh.LI survey, out of 172 respondents, 86 percent do not think that the proposed water tower should be built. 11 percent are in favor of the project, while 3 percent are still undecided, the survey said.

Stacey Genovese, a resident who lives next to the DeMott Avenue location and helped to organized the Wantagh.LI survey, explained that she is “pleased that Aqua is listening to the community's objections and researching alternative plans.”

“I'm looking forward to hearing from Aqua how they plan to address the issue of not having a minimum of 35psi in their system at all times while protecting the property values and community in Wantagh,” she added.

AQUA services approximately 152,000 people in the New York City metropolitan area, including Seaford, Wantagh, Merrick, Levittown, Bellmore, Massapequa, East Massapequa and sections of Glen Cove. The South East Nassau Water Authority (SENWA) recently reconvened in June to discussed possibly taking over Aqua because of complaints of high rates.

Diane Stephan August 08, 2011 at 03:17 PM
I recently moved to Wantagh in March. I have noticed low water pressure, especially since the summer has been in full swing. I don't know why folks are so against a water tower that would alleviate this problem. Is it because they think it's an eye sore or that the project will cost too much? I was happy to read that SENWA may be interested in taking over for Aqua. I'm all for lower rates.
Art Apicella August 08, 2011 at 11:53 PM
I've been a Wantagh resident for 43 years and lived in the locations in this town. I grew up not far from the Wantagh High School, rented in North Wantagh in Forest City, and now own near the Seaford Oyster Bay Expressway/Sunrise Highway intersection. In all three locations, over the course of 43 years, the water pressure has been fine. Wantagh does not need a water tower. I don't know where you used to live, but you don't need water pressure the strength of a fire hose.
Art Apicella August 08, 2011 at 11:54 PM
I should proofread before I post, my apologies. I meant to say I lived in three locations in Wantagh.
Dem2008 August 09, 2011 at 01:13 PM
The Town of Hempstead elected leader's do a poor job at keeping the community informed. They spend nearly 8 million on mailers that are purely political, yet get away with it because they call them a public service announcement, but do NOT spend any time or effort really getting to know the residents. Ever been to a meeting? They yell at the resident who complain about pot holes. This November 8 it is time for real change. Vote out Kate Murray and the entire Team.
STEVEN October 02, 2012 at 07:16 PM
I HAVE LIVED IN WANTAGH SINCE 1967, AND HAVE ALWAYS HEARD FROM MY PARENTS HOW HIGH THE COST OF WATER IS HERE. NOW AFTER PAYING WATER BILLS TO NEW YORK WATER SERVICE, AND NOW AQUA, FOR OVER THIRTY YEARS, I HAVE TO ASK , WHY IS THE WATER SO COSTLY FROM THIS SERVICE? I SPEAK TO DIFFERENT FRIENDS ON LONG ISLAND, AND THEY DO NOT PAY NEARLY AS MUCH AS I DO! WHATS GOING ON ?

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