16TH Assembly District
Environmental Conservation
Local Governments
Veterans Affairs

May 5, 2010

Honorable Pete Grannis
Commissioner, Department of Environmental Conservation
625 Broadway
Albany, New York 12233

Dear Commissioner Grannis:

For your review I have enclosed a recent copy of the Long Island Press. This issue's feature story, "Toxic Time Bomb," is a detailed look at the deteriorating state of the Cedar Creek County Sewer plant.

I have previously offered to the DEC my many reasons for opposing the diversion of the Great Neck Sewer Plants' waste water to the Cedar Creek plant. Foremost among my concerns was the proposal to pump raw sewage from Great Neck 12 miles across Long Island's deep-flow recharge area and ground water divide of our sole source aquifer.

"Toxic Time Bomb" reveals a nightmarish Cedar Creek plant with commensurate financial and environmental unknowns. My community decided against diversion even though we were told by representatives of your agency that we needed to move forward with diversion to Cedar Creek or lose local grant funding, this is unacceptable.

In the article, according to DEC spokesperson Bill Fonda, "Cedar Creek exceeded its permit standards six times since 2007, and twice in 2010. No enforcement actions were taken by the agency on these excursions. Since 2007, the DEC has conducted three inspections of the plant, all "satisfactory," with the last, April 7, still being written up. In addition, the plant had a 25,000 gallon spill into its namesake waterway in November 2008..."

The implications of this expose are profound. My constituents deserve to know why after 5 years worth of complaints and county hearings urging remediation of the Cedar Creek plant we were not only ill-informed but were aggressively encouraged to divert by your agency and the County. Our plant may have needed an upgrade but unlike Cedar Creek, our sewer plants were always well maintained and well funded. We should not have been subjected to the environmental equivalent of a corporate takeover.

My local taxpayers do not deserve to be punished by the DEC and lose grant money by having chosen to avoid unacceptably high financial and environmental risk. Within the context of what we now know, I emphatically request that the DEC reinstate the original $18M grant to the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District.

Sincerely yours,
Michelle Schimel
16th Assembly District