LIAW Proposes Iron Removal Plant in Lynbrook

The water company has proposed to construct a new plant at 228 Whitehall Street; Residents speak out at meeting.


Long Island American Water (LIAW) has proposed the construction of an iron removal plant in Lynbrook to meet drinking water standards because of a "naturally occurring" increase in the amount of iron present in drinking water.

The water company said at Tuesday night's board of trustees meeting that it wants to demolish the current two smaller buildings and construct a new plant at the 228 Whitehall St. site.

"The current two well sites no longer meet the drinking water standard because of the high iron content - it does not meet Nassau County and New York State health standards," LIAW Manager of Engineering Ben Claase said.

Claase said the chemicals sodium hypo-chlorite, sodium-silicate and lime will be used in the filtration process at the new site. A 30-by-26 foot backwash tank that holds about 132,000 gallons of water would be installed in the rear of the property, as would an emergency standby generator.

The proposed facility would be unmanned and run 24/7, and would require three times a day inspection on site, according to Claase.

"The iron content in the wells are going up naturally. That’s why we have to move on with these types of projects," Director of Operations Richard Curran said.

LIAW representatives assured the board of trustees and residents in attendance that the new facility will meet all safety requirements and not have any adverse affects on the community.

"We’ve gone to great lengths to make sure this works for the residents ... to design a building that has a residential nature and feel and that blends nice into the neighborhood," Claase said.

Claase said they do not expect traffic or noise to be a concern going forward. Garbage is also maintained on the site by LIAW and the diesel generator is "quiet."

Several residents in attendance expressed concerns over the project and a lack of trust in LIAW. Susan Ulrich lives on the street and said the current operations have caused many headaches for neighbors.

"There's a reverse warning on the truck that beeps -- it's 3 a.m. in the morning and the beeping sound on the trucks goes off," she said.

Resident Michael Vacchio is concerned about the aesthetics of having the backwash tank visible from his home.

"I'd like to ask the board to put a condition in there so we don't see the tank from the front of my property," Vacchio said.

Residents are also not exactly thrilled of the thought of having a construction site across the street for the next 12-16 months, including six months of "heavy" construction. If given the green light, work could start in June.

If workers at the site make too much noise and have no regard for neighbors, Hendrick said inspectors will be sent over and the village will take action.

"This is a one-shot deal, it needs to be done. It's an ugly facility," Hendrick said. "... but tell them, they can have 11 months where they don't know we are there, or they can have 11 months where the building department and the police department is all over them. Which do they want?"

An iron removal plant in Malverne was put into service in March of 2011. The plant opened in October 2010 but was plagued by problems with one of its tanks that prevented it from going online, according to a Malverne Patch article.

Many Malverne residents have complained about the brown water flowing from their faucets. The company was also under hot water this summer when they sought a big rate increase from customers. 

A decision on the facility will be made within 62 days of the close of the hearing Tuesday, and is subject to approval by the architectural review board.


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