Information about water discoloration, rates and infrastructure, as well as updates on police activity in West Hempstead, were part of a biannual meeting organized by the West Hempstead Community Support Association at West Hempstead High School on June 19.
Carmen Tierno, president of New York American Water, was the meeting’s first speaker. He was joined by Rose Simpson, the company’s supervisor of customer advocacy, and Christopher Buday, vice president of operations.
Tierno gave an update on the water filtration plant constructed on Chautauqua Avenue in Lakeview last year, known as Plant #2. He said that the company is investing in its infrastructure, replacing sediment-encrusted water pipes to eliminate the rust-colored water in Lakeview homes — a problem that has also plagued the Malverne area for years. “We’re replacing some of the water mains,” Tierno said, adding that many mains in West Hempstead are almost 100 years old and have sediment buildup inside. “We have a plan to replace about 3,000 feet [of water main] ... in 2017,” said Tierno. “You might see some disruptions if you live in those areas.”
The company disclosed its water main replacement schedule to the Herald several days after the WHCSA meeting, stating that Langdon Boulevard, from its southern tip to Lakeview Avenue, would receive new water mains. Maine Avenue, from Tanglewood Road to Lawrence Avenue, would also get its mains replaced. A company public relations representative said the effort is being coordinated with the Town of Hempstead’s paving project, and that water main work is expected to begin mid-July.
Last year, New York American Water reported that Smith Lane, Coda Court, Donlon Avenue, Emerson Drive and Sunapee Road, all in Lakeview, would receive new water mains.
Tierno told residents that there have been no traces of 1,4 dioxane — a likely carcinogen that has been found in water sources across Long Island — in West Hempstead’s water.
He also discussed water bills, saying that the water company would raise rates by roughly 8 percent. “We have not raised rates in a couple of years,” he said, reminding residents that the company recently received state approval to do so. Because New York American Water is a monopoly, it is regulated by the state and cannot increase rates without the state’s review and agreement.
Tierno said the reason for the rate increase is property taxes, which have been escalating due to the construction of new water-filtration plants. “Basically, your water bill is one-third the operating cost of our company, one-third our investment in its infrastructure and one-third property taxes,” he said.
New York American Water supplies water to the southern part of West Hempstead, roughly 4,800 homes.
The second half of the meeting was led by Nassau County Police Officer Rita Bopp, a member of the department’s problem-oriented policing, or POP, unit. Bopp announced that Sgt. Edward Grim, who left the unit last year, has returned, prompting applause from the audience. POP officers work closely with residents to address crime and quality-of-life issues.
Bopp reported that in the past two months, there had been no reports of hate crimes — which range from graffiti to cyberbullying — in West Hempstead.
The precinct, Bopp also said, was preparing to address illegal fireworks, and officers will would make preventative visits to homes that have used fireworks on July 4 in the past. “We will go, knock on the door, and say, ‘We’re letting you know — we are warning you — that we are going to be out enforcing, and you will be arrested,’” Bopp said. The practice was used last year and greatly curbed fireworks on the holiday, she said.
Bopp encouraged the audience to contact the precinct at (516) 573-6570 if they have neighbors who fit that description.