By GREGORY ZELLER //
A new “space race” is taking place right underneath Long Island’s feet.
So says Michael Beyer, president of Islandia-based Bancker Construction Corp., who believes aging infrastructure and limited open space for new development are creating a hyper-competitive environment for regional utility providers.
And that necessitates a regional utility-management plan – pronto, according to Beyer, who made his case recently to the Nassau Suffolk Water Commissioners Association, an Island-wide affiliation of elected officials representing Long Island’s 21 different water districts.
Beyer – whose 100-year-old, family-owned contractor company lists “water, sewer, gas, cable, telephone [and] drainage” among its top on-site services – spoke to the Carle Place-based NSWCA as part of its Educational Speaker Series, a cavalcade of special guests invited to school the association on critical water-related issues.
In his presentation, Beyer suggested that a regional plan for managing critical utility services would go a long way toward helping policymakers juggle Long Island’s remaining undeveloped space, while smartly reworking “aging infrastructure” across Nassau and Suffolk.
“There is a new space race today, and this one is underground,” Beyer told the commissioners. “On Long Island, it involves lane issues for limited real estate, essentially creating a competitive environment for utilities such as electric, gas and water services.
“Given the region’s aging infrastructure, the need for an overriding management plan is paramount to secure the delivery of future services,” he added.
Chartered in 1981, the NSWCA is collectively responsibly for providing potable water to 620,000-plus Long Island customers.
Hicksville Water District Commissioner and current NSWCA President William Schuckmann said the association was grateful to Beyer for “sharing his future outlook,” and would consider the call for a regional water plan.
“Given the need for conservation and long-term sustainability, and in view of aging infrastructure as well as other industry changes, we will continue to seek greater efficiencies and cost savings while continuing to be compliant with all New York State, federal and local regulations,” Schuckmann said in a statement.