Water woes drag on in Hempstead Village

Village residents tell News 12 they just want their water cleaned.

Thema Ponton

Jun 25, 2024, 3:06 AM

Updated 20 days ago


Hempstead Village residents and local leaders tell News 12 that race could be a factor in why they're not getting the help they're asking for to clean their drinking water.
"I don't know if it's a race issue or not, but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's usually a duck." said the Rev. Dr. Sedgwick Easley, of Union Baptist Church.
Easley said he's concerned race may be the reason Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman isn't helping Hempstead Village get money to clean their drinking water, the same as he's done for other communities.
"Why hasn't he helped the Village of Hempstead? It's a minority community, many of residents are in poverty." Easley said.
Easley joined other Hempstead Village residents at Monday's legislative meeting, pushing for county lawmakers to approve a request for more than $1.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds.
As News 12 has reported, the money is to remove 1.4 dioxane from the village's water.
Last month, village wells were found to have up to 11 times the amount allowed by New York state.
1.4 dioxane is a possible human carcinogen believed to cause cancer.
Democratic Legislator Siela Bynoe, who represents part of Hempstead Village and is a candidate for the state Senate, tells News 12 that she and fellow Legislator Scott Davis' May 3 request for Nassau to release the money for a water treatment plant has gone unanswered.
Bynow said, "We followed up time and time again and to date we have received no direct communication from the administration."
Davis said, "1.7 is a drop in the bucket and anything helps and that's essentially the reason the other district's got that money, because it helps, because otherwise the burden falls on the taxpayers, and, and the Village of Hempstead, which is a very densely populated, marginalized community, they need that help more than anyone else does."
News 12 also reached out to Democratic NYS Assemblywoman Taylor Darling, whose district includes Hempstead Village and she, too, is running for a state Senate seat.
In a statement to News 12, Darling said, “As a resident of Hempstead, I understand the concerns of my neighbors who are frustrated with the century-old water system in place. As a state legislator, my first order of business was advocating for the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, signed in 2019. Since then, I have co-sponsored a community action meeting this year to educate residents on 1,4 dioxane and learn about how they can participate in Yale University’s health study. Additionally, I, along with my colleagues in state government, have passed a budget this year that includes $500 million for clean water across the state. Also, with overwhelming support from voters in 2022, the Clean Water, Clean Air, and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act is a $4.2 billion investment in New York’s environment and communities, with $650 million designated specifically for water quality improvements. This funding prioritizes disadvantaged communities such as the Village of Hempstead.”
As News 12 has reported, other communities' similar requests have been approved.
Christopher Boyle, spokesman Blakeman sent a statement to News 12 saying, “The Village of Hempstead is seeking federal and state funding for its capital plan and since any extension of funds is not reimbursable, the county is waiting to see what funds the federal and state governments have allocated to this project before committing county taxpayer dollars.”
Village residents tell News 12 they just want their water cleaned.
"It is an issue of humanity and all of us deserve clean drinking water." said Easley.

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