2002-03-16 / Front Page

New LIPA Substation On Line

By Howard Schwach

By Howard Schwach

The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has announced that the electrical construction of its new substation on Beach Channel Drive between Beach 108 and Beach 112 Street is complete and the substation is on line.

The new substation now replaces the old LILCO station that first went on line in the mid 1920’s. It was reportedly the oldest electrical substation still in use in New York State.

"Now that the station is online, we will finish the aesthetic portion of the project by installing new fencing and driveways," a LIPA spokesperson says. "In addition, the substation will be landscaped and beautified."

The company says that the Belle Harbor Garden Club is working closely with them on the landscaping plan.

The plan to build the substation on the site was a controversial one that put the entire project in doubt for several months.

Both environmental and aesthetic complaints from community activists were involved in the delay.

The site was for many years a Manufactured Gas Plant (MGP), turning coal into gas for LILCO. That plant was closed in 1975. The residuals of that process are considered by many to be toxic. The entire site was considered a toxic waste site by the government.

Just a year ago, however, the State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) decertified the portion of the site that LIPA wanted to utilize for the new substation.

It was that decertification that spurred community questions and a hold to the project.

It was only when LIPA proved to the community that the section of the site to be utilized for the new substation had never been a part of the MGP plant that the company was given the go-ahead for the completion of the project.

The old substation will be torn down this summer, according to LIPA sources.

When that plant is removed, the remedial study that will determine what has to be done with the remainder of the site to rid it of toxins will be completed.

"We have to determine and define the environmental conditions in this area related to the former MGP operations," a LIPA spokesperson told The Wave. "That determination will include the collection of soil samples and groundwater samples. The community should not be impacted in any way by these studies."

LIPA promises that it will keep the community up to date in its findings, through newsletters, public meetings and reports in the media.

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