Construction has commenced at a portion of Christopher Morley Park to build a water purification system that would rid the inactive Roslyn Water District well along Diana’s Trail in the Village of Roslyn Estates of various contaminants, including the chlorofluorocarbon Freon-22.
The work began Thursday with the clearing of trees from the site, following a July 23 approval by the county parks and public works departments of the district’s plans to replant trees around the site.
“The planting plan was the last piece of the puzzle,” said Rich Passariello, the water district’s superintendent.
A depiction of the replanting as well as a rendering of the air stripper, which has been designed to resemble a house with aesthetics mirroring others in Roslyn Estates, has been posted on the water district’s website.
Five contractors have been hired to construct the $3 million project, which was approved by the North Hempstead Town Council as part of a $20.9 million capital bond for the water district in February 2014.
Preparations and site work to the water main at the well, which began in mid May, is still ongoing, Passariello said.
The Roslyn Water District is comprised of the villages of Roslyn, Roslyn Estates, Roslyn Harbor, East Hills and Flower Hill as well as parts of North Hills and Port Washington and the unincorporated Roslyn Heights, Albertson, Greenvale and Glenwood Landing.
The park land was acquired from the state by Nassau County and transferred to the water district for construction of the air stripper. The Diana’s Trail well was closed in November 2013 after concentrations of Freon-22 found in the water earlier that year were found to have spiked, albeit to levels officials said were still safe for consumption.
Freon-22 can cause dizziness, loss of concentration, central nervous system depression and/or cardiac arrhythmia if inhaled in high concentrations, and can also cause asphyxiation if inhaled in confined spaces.
Officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation have said the air stripper would be able to withstand contamination of up to 43 parts per billion, a small percentage compared to the 55,000 parts per billion maximum set by the state and federal government.
East Hills resident Richard Brummel and Roslyn Estates residents Joshua Dicker and David Greengold have challenged the project in court, arguing that placing the air stripper in the park would harm residents, local organizations and wildlife that use its forested areas.
They have also cited the support of the Sierra Club of Long Island, the Green Party of Nassau County, advocacy group Parc Nassau and petitions signed by park users, in the litigation.