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August 29, 2007


DiNapoli Presents West Hempstead Water District
With Final Payment From State Oil Spill Fund

More than $1.2 million spent to clean up MTBE contamination

The West Hempstead-Hempstead Gardens Water District received its third and final payment from the New York Environmental Protection and Spill Fund for the clean-up of four public wells contaminated by methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE), New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced today.

The $594,980 payment is the third installment of a $1.204 million damage claim settlement the Fund negotiated with the water district in 2006. A significant portion of the settlement funded the installation of a new drinking water supply well at an alternate location.

“This payment brings the District one step closer to finally operating at full capacity to supply residents with clean drinking water,” DiNapoli said. “Timing is crucial when dealing with MTBE because it spreads so quickly through groundwater and soil. By moving quickly to resolve the District’s damage claims, we were able to provide vital funding for the construction of a new supply well.”

“This is what happens when agencies work together to solve a problem,” said District Superintendent Robert P. York. “The drilling of a supply well and putting it into service to meet the summer’s demand was done expeditiously. The cooperation of all agencies involved was terrific.”

The West Hempstead-Hempstead Gardens Water District submitted a damage claim to the Oil Spill Fund in September 2006, after four of the District’s ten public water supply wells were found to be contaminated with MTBE, a gasoline additive which has been banned in New York since 2004. The MTBE contamination resulted from a petroleum discharge that greatly reduced the District’s clean water capacity. District costs included expenditures for sampling, installation of a new well system to replace lost capacity, and modification of two wells to place them into the filtration and treatment system.

The Oil Spill Fund, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation, is also acting to clean up the petroleum discharge. The Fund has spent more than $1.8 million remediating the contamination, bringing the total costs to more than $3 million. Clean-up efforts are continuing under the oversight of Department engineers.

The Oil Spill Fund has referred damage claim payment to the Office of the Attorney General who will pursue cost recovery from those determined to be responsible for the spill.

About the Oil Spill Fund
The New York Environmental Protection and Spill Compensation Fund is administered by the Office of the State Comptroller and pays for the remediation of petroleum spills conducted with the oversight of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Individuals and entities who sustain financial losses because of a petroleum spill may file damage claims with the Fund.

The Fund’s major sources of revenue are a license fee charged on each barrel of petroleum sold in New York State ($.08 per 42-gallon barrel), and reimbursement from petroleum spillers. When the party responsible for a petroleum spill is identified, the Fund pursues reimbursement from that party for claims paid in relation to that particular spill.

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