The Shelter Island Town Board approved a long-term agreement yesterday tapping SCWA to manage the West Neck Water District for the next 40 years. The town’s only public water system serves approximately 200 residents in the northwest corner of Shelter Island.
Town Board members and water district officials began discussions with SCWA in 2019, after the retirement of the long-time operator who completed 40 years of dedicated service. In addition to managing the day-to-day operations of the district’s three 25 gallons-per-minute public supply wells, SCWA plans to add a fourth 25 GPM well, replace the neighborhood’s water distribution network including installing new water meters, and make improvements to its electrical system. In total, SCWA has committed $1.7 million in improvements for West Neck Water District.
Calling the partnership “historic,” Shelter Island Town Engineer Joseph Finora said the upgrades will bring West Neck Water District into compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations, conserve groundwater through the reduction of leaks and losses and serve as a lens into the aquifer through extensive water quality testing and monitoring.
“I’d like to thank the Town Board and Supervisor Siller for making this commitment to enhance our water system, and for choosing to address our infrastructure issues with a sustainable and cost-effective approach,” added Finora.
SCWA’s in-house standards for water quality are often more protective than state or federal regulations. SCWA’s state-of-the-art laboratory located in Hauppauge currently tests for 414 compounds, which is 265 more than required by regulators.
“We have what I consider the best public water company in America,” said SCWA Board Chairman Patrick Halpin. “Our job is to make sure the people of Suffolk County have the highest quality drinking water possible, at the most affordable rates, and you can’t compromise quality.”
Halpin praised Shelter Island Town Supervisor Gerry Siller, the Town Board, and West Neck Water District officials for keeping an open mind during discussions, and for doing their due diligence on the long-term management agreement. “You really dug into this and asked all the critical questions,” Halpin said. “This is a partnership with all the citizens of the West Neck Water District as well as the Town Board, and I can assure you that every commitment that’s been made by SCWA will be fulfilled.”
“The Town of Shelter Island is pleased to begin this new partnership with SCWA and for their efforts to understand our unique community,” said Siller. “As a town, we have, and will continue to invest in critical infrastructure like the West Neck water system to ensure sustainable, high quality drinking water for all islanders. We are very thankful to the West Neck Water Board for their many years of dedicated service to the community and for the participation of all islanders who contributed in crafting this partnership with SCWA.”
The Suffolk County Water Authority is an independent public-benefit corporation operating under the authority of the Public Authorities Law of the State of New York. Serving approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents, the Authority operates without taxing power on a not-for-profit basis.
Photo Caption: Shelter Island Town Supervisor Gerry Siller and SCWA Board Chairman Patrick Halpin sign the long-term management agreement for SCWA to manage the West Neck Water District.