BY JAMES FARRELL
A bill to pass ownership of two pumping stations that manage the sewer systems of the Waterside Estates Community in Whitestone to the city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was passed in the state Senate on June 7.
In April, the Queens Tribune reported on how the Waterside Estates community, located at the site of the former Cresthaven Country Club, has been maintaining its own pumping station for nearly two decades. In recent years, the duties have fallen to two men—Anthony Coglitore, 84, and Thomas Doherty, 74—who no longer feel that they are able to maintain the station efficiently and don’t want to pass the burden on to the homeowners.
“It’s just [Doherty] and I—and he’s in his 70s and I’m in my 80s,” Coglitore said. “It’s getting harder and harder.”
The Senate bill, which was introduced by state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), would put the city in charge of maintaining the pumping stations. The same bill passed the Senate in 2016, but was not approved in the Assembly. This year, Assemblyman Michael Simanowitz (D-Flushing) introduced the Assembly’s version of the bill—but with the legislative session ending on June 21, the bill’s future could remain undecided.
The bill was one of three that Avella passed in recent weeks—a trio that Avella’s office recently deemed a “hat trick.”
Another of Avella’s bills would issue a directive to the board of trustees at SUNY and CUNY schools to update their campus fire safety code, while the third piece of legislation would remove the minimum charge for water supply in New York City.
“If we are going to charge for consumption, then charge for consumption and do not penalize those people who are trying to conserve their water usage,” Avella said regarding the latter bill.
Neither bill has been brought to a vote in the Assembly.