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A clean water basin for Elmont

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After years of dealing with an unsightly mess outside his home, Long-time Elmont resident Andrew Prescia was greeted with a clean break on March 18 when the Nassau County Department of Public Works went into the water recharge basin across the street from him, removing thousands of bottles, cans and other bits of trash and debris that had been polluting the site for years.

The Nassau County Storm Water Recharge Basin No. 351 lies at the corner of Benson Avenue and Kiefer Avenue, and it was a source of embarrassment for Prescia, he said. Whenever he invited old high school friends to visit and walk around their old neighborhood, the first thing they noticed was the basin, which they described to him as “simply disgusting.”

“They couldn’t believe it was like that,” Prescia said. “It’s a dumpsite.”

Before his guests visited, Presica used to mow the lawn outside the basin’s fence to try and make it somewhat presentable, but the smell of the trash and the wildlife it attracted always drew people’s attention.

So when Nassau County Legislator Carrié Solages and Nassau County Police Department Sergeant Frank Discala invited Prescia to show them around the site on March 17, he welcomed the offer. As the three men toured the sump, Discala and Solages mulled over ideas to prevent future dumping at the sight after DPW cleaned up the basin. While placing “no dumping” signs and regular police surveillance seemed like a sufficient first step, Prescia warned officials that when the trees and grass begin to grow again, it would keep the basin hidden and possibly attract polluters once again.

“We’re going to keep an eye on it during the spring and summer months to keep the basin clean of trash and pollution,” Solages said. “We need to work together to keep it clean throughout the year.”

While Solages plans to push for the installation of no parking signs along the basin on Kiefer Avenue to allow maintenance workers to keep the foliage clear, the County Department of Public Works are also taking additional measures to prevent another pileup of trash at the sump.

“Our next step includes securing all breaches in the fencing and installing ‘No Dumping’ signs along the perimeter of the basin, which will be completed shortly,” DPW Commissioner Kenneth Arnold wrote in a letter to Solages.

DPW will also be working with the Town of Hempstead, whose drainage system connects with the basin, to add catch basin inserts to prevent future debris build-ups.