Despite being surrounded by it, water is a precious resource on Long Island, one that many villages are grappling with, including Mineola’s neighbor to the north, East Williston, which is seeking a new supplier.
East Williston recently sent Mineola a letter asking about becoming the village’s new supplier instead of current provider Williston Park.
“They’re looking to see if its feasible to get their water from the Mineola water department,” said.
According to Trustee Lawrence Werther, East Williston is looking to spend less than $3 per gallon, potentially bringing in about $400,000 per year to the village.
“You have a... proceeding pending because I guess the village of East Williston doesn’t like the rate structure they’re being given so now you have a situation where they’re suing the people who are providing them water. Would we face that same eventuality if we had to raise the water rate? It’s a concern,” Superintendent of Public Works Tom Rini said at the October 12 village board meeting.
East Williston has requested water from Mineola in the past according to village water department head Frederick Booher, but the possibility of a similar relationship occurring between Mineola and East Williston was at the forefront.
Williston Park has a “master meter” at the border which was not functioning for many years, resulting in an estimated bill for East Williston that did not count many gallons used. In 2004 Williston Park replaced the meter and raised the rate on East Williston. In 2007, East Williston commissioned an engineering study to determine their own needs and evaluate potential alternatives of water suppliers. Surveys were sent to neighboring villages of Albertson, Carle Place, Old Westbury and Mineola.
“Albertson, Carle Place and Old Westbury chose not to participate,” Booher said. “They didn’t want to get involved with that type of relationship since the village of Williston Park was already providing that service.”
At the time, had asked that the information be provided “so that if there was a way that we could possibly help without causing any undue stress to our system,” Booher said.
The information showed that Williston Park couldn’t meet East Williston’s “basic” demands. “They didn’t have the capacity to provide for both villages peak demand or fire demand,” Booher said.
Demand is determined as an estimated percentage of daily water demand, with “peak” being 200-300 percent of demand, typically during summer, and “fire” about 150 percent of demand.
“They would actually really need two suppliers in order to meet those theoretical demands,” Booher said of East Williston, adding that the village would have to have an engineering study of its own on Mineola’s system to see if could handle the stress of supplying water. East Williston’s annual demand is 140 million gallons of water.
The cost of the survey in 2007 was $17,500 and East Williston wanted a the village to commit to supply water regardless of the outcome.
“That was sort of a dealbreaker,” Booher said. “At that point, talks kind of broke down.”
Additional logistical challenges would include modifying the two current 6 inch manes to 10 or 12 inches along with a return feed, construction of a new master meter as well as the fact that Mineola has one well in the area and the water would have to be pumped upstream to East Williston. The cost of the project would be about $100,000.
Also, every year Mineola takes down one well for maintenance and this year a .
“As much as I think we’d like to do it, there are so many factors that just point us in he other direction,” Rini said. “If you have a peak demand in your summer, plus we have a peak demand from another village, I don’t know if we can handle that. In the cost-benefit analysis, there’s no great benefit to us, necessarily.”
The Department of Environmental Conservation also imposes a cap on the amount of water pumped from the aquifer for each village, which for Mineola is 1.4 billion annually. The total amount for 2011 is 1.2 billion. Sanctions or fines can be imposed if the cap is exceeded.
“If their demand is 140 million, we’re right at the edge of the cap and we haven’t even provided for any of ,” Rini said.
“Our job is to provide for our residents and I would never want to be in a position where we had to choose between our residents and someone else’s,” deputy mayor Paul Pereira said.