The Manhasset Lakeville Water District has secured a $2.75M settlement for costs incurred in response to contamination of the aquifer underlying the Water District’s service area. Sive Paget & Riesel represented the Water District in its efforts to recover these costs.
The Water District provides drinking water to its 45,000 customers in Manhasset, Great Neck, and New Hyde Park, NY. After Freon-22 was detected in the aquifer waters, the Water District was forced to build a treatment system to remove the contaminants and render the water safe for public consumption in compliance with New York State drinking water quality standards.
SPR assisted the Water District in locating parties that were potentially responsible for the contamination, investigating the historic source of the contamination, and bringing a federal litigation in the Eastern District of New York against the owners of the source of the contamination for recovery the Water District’s costs. The litigation asserted federal claims under the citizen suit provisions of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
The Water District has now settled certain of its claims in that litigation for $2.75M. These settlement funds will offset costs incurred to build the treatment system, legal and engineering fees, as well as the ongoing operation and maintenance costs of removing contaminants from the drinking water supply. The settlement also serves as an important example to public water districts, demonstrating that ratepayers need not bear the burden of addressing environmental contamination in the water supply.