Hempstead Department of Water tells residents they'll have to pay quarterly fee for new filtration system
Part of the cost of removing potentially dangerous chemicals from drinking water supplies on Long Island is now being passed on to some Nassau residents.
In a letter, the Town of Hempstead Department of Water informed residents that they'll have to pay a $25 quarterly fee to cover the cost of a new filtration system to clean 1,4-dioxane and PFOS and PFOA in the drinking water.
As News 12 first reported in August of 2019, then-Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said while the town's drinking water quality meets all state and federal guidelines, it is still being polluted by emerging contaminants found in everyday household products.
The town filed a lawsuit against three chemical companies seeking damages and remediation.
But while litigation is underway, the town said in the letter that it plans to install a filtration system that's expected to cost more than $100,000,000 for 16 filtration units over the next five years.
Environmentalist Adrienne Esposito says while filtration systems are expensive, the $100 million price tag quoted in the letter is excessive.
"Six million dollars for each one seems crazy. Last I checked, the price was between a million and $2 million for each one." she says. "Even if you pad on an extra million for engineers and other staff, I had a hard time with that number."
Melinda, who lives in East Meadow is having a hard time with that number as well.
"Now we're going to pay $100 more for poison water that I'm not going to even drink," she says.
She says the town should have a plan in place now to provide residents with clean water.
"We're still paying for poison water," says Melinda, who didn't want her face shown on-air. "So how are you going to get clean drinking water to our families? That's the objective today."
When asked about the cost of the filtration system, the Town of Hempstead's water commissioner said the settlement money from the lawsuit against chemical companies would be used to adjust or remove the customers' compliance charges.
The fee goes into effect with customers' first bill of this year. It's something Suffolk Water Authority customers also have to deal with, as they'll have to foot a $20 quarterly fee.