The Water: Fears For Residents’ Health


In the mid-1970s, when I bought my home in South Merrick, a landfill was inexistence that looked like a mountain from the Meadowbrook Parkway when driving toward Jones Beach. In the many years that followed, Merrick had one of the highest concentrations of cancer cases on Long Island. The officials always had said that this area was perfectly safe and the chemicals would never reach the drinking water. Newsday once ran a story on the death rates of towns on Long Island of which Merrick ranked first. Still listed at under the category, Cancer And Other Serious Illnesses In Communities Near Closed Dumps is the wording above Merrick, stating, “multiple cancer clusters.”

The recent Town of North Hempstead meeting on the proposed well cleanup by the Roslyn Water District in the Village of Roslyn Estates reminded me of all the meetings and articles from those promising officials back in the 1970s that had constantly said no harm would ever come from the landfill. Just think of the deaths that they caused with the real facts that they never had such as the long-term effects.

In 10-20 years from now I probably won’t be around but my children will be in their prime and my grandchildren will be in their teens so do you think I am worried? You bet I am. This decision must be thought out very carefully.

Reading several articles after the meeting, one sentence keeps haunting me from “The Island Now” dated Jan. 29: “Residents asked the water district officials if they had sought alternative methods of cleaning the water, but officials said the project would have been ‘costlier and taken longer to complete.’”

I am posing this question to the council members and the engineers and attorneys involved in this project: When it comes to the cost or the length of time of this project versus a safe and healthy life for our children without worry, which would you choose? I am just wondering if this airstripper was in your backyard with your children and grandchildren exposed which side would your vote be cast?

As an outsider listening to all the arguments pro and con, there just doesn’t seem to be a pro. There is only one solution and that is that the airstripper does not belong in this residential location filled with children playing in their yards breathing these contaminates in. It must be moved to a more secluded spot. There is not one person that sits in front of me or all the engineers on this planet that can guarantee me the safety of my children and grandchildren 10-20 years down the road. Please don’t turn this village into another Merrick.

Adopt a temporary fix and start the process of buying a piece of land to house the airstripper away from the lives of our children that as parents we would do anything to protect.

Steve Auerbac

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