County Executive Steve Levy, Suffolk Water Authority CEO Stephen Jones Sign Easements on 34 Properties
Agreement Provides Cash to County, Ability to Access
Water Supply for SCWA
Hauppauge, NY – Suffolk County and the Suffolk County Water Authority today signed a $2.6 million agreement that will grant easements on 34 parcels of land acquired under the county’s Drinking Water Protection Program, it was announced by Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy and SCWA CEO Stephen Jones.
The intra-agency agreement covers properties in Brookhaven, East Hampton, Islip, Riverhead and Southampton which have been acquired by Suffolk over the years under the program which permits the use of such parcels for the production and distribution of a public water supply.
Under the agreement, Suffolk County will receive $1.2 million in cash – with $200,000 of that allocated to the Suffolk County Comprehensive Water Resource Plan – and forgiveness of a $1.4 million balance owed to the SCWA under a 2005 litigation settlement.
In exchange, the agreement will allow the SCWA initial access to the properties for planning purposes -- to evaluate the sites and perform tests.
If the SCWA wishes to utilize a particular parcel for water supply production and distribution, a five-acre area on that parcel will then be identified and, pending approval of the Suffolk County Parks Department and Parks Board of Trustees, a new easement will be established for that five-acre area.
“The purpose of our Drinking Water Protection Program, heartily endorsed by the public, is to provide for clean and adequate supplies of water for future generations,” said Levy. “This agreement will provide some financial relief for our taxpayers today, and protection of our most precious natural resource.”
“A majority of the parcels covered by this agreement were protected as part of the 1987 Drinking Water Protection Program,” said SCWA Chairman Michael LoGrande. “By moving forward now with the purchase of these easements, the Water Authority is gaining access to the pure, protected water supplies far into the future.”
“The easements included in this agreement will constitute the bulk of our new drinking water facilities for the next 50 years and beyond,” said Suffolk County Water Authority CEO Stephen Jones. “The cost of remediating older wells is rapidly becoming more expensive than transporting water from the new sites covered by this agreement.”