[HISTORY: Adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature 10-8-2013 by Res. No. 805-2013. Amendments noted where applicable.]
An aquifer system underlies both Nassau and Suffolk County. The critical importance of the aquifer system was recognized by the United States Environmental Protection Agency when the system was designated a sole-source aquifer (the "SSA"); and numerous studies and reports have recognized the critical importance of protecting the quantity and quality of water in the SSA. Groundwater and surface water are inextricably linked in the Long Island water cycle, and protecting the quality of groundwater will protect the quality of the surface water into which groundwater flows. Notwithstanding the numerous reports and studies prepared to date, the preliminary results of Suffolk County's Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan highlight the need to undertake additional proactive measures to safeguard Long Island's SSA. The proliferation of local governmental entities and decentralized land use controls on Long Island limits the ability of the two counties to adequately address water quality issues due to the very nature of the SSA, which crosses all geopolitical boundaries; and Nassau and Suffolk Counties recognize the need for comprehensive planning and special studies to focus on opportunities and issues, such as groundwater protection strategies, that are best handled on a broad geographic scale.
Nassau and Suffolk Counties need a strong bi-county commission specifically devoted to addressing the host of groundwater issues facing Suffolk and Nassau Counties and to advocate a coordinated approach to the groundwater issues facing our region; and the commission membership should include a consortium of private and public experts on groundwater issues. The Suffolk County Executive and this County Legislature have determined that is in the best interest of the County to establish, in conjunction with the County of Nassau, the Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (the "LICAP") to build upon the previous studies and reports, identify areas for further research and suggest programmatic opportunities for preventing the further degradation of Long Island's SSA and identify mechanisms, including land use controls, for improving the quality of water within the SSA and for implementing safeguards to maintain the quantity of water within the SSA. LICAP is intended to be a temporary commission charged with gathering relevant data on groundwater issues and preparing a State of the Aquifer Report and a Groundwater Resources Management Plan that should form the scientific underpinning for a yet to be established entity.
The Long Island Commission for Aquifer Protection (the "LICAP") is hereby established; and the Suffolk County Executive is hereby empowered and authorized to enter into an intermunicipal agreement with Nassau County, which agreement will set forth the terms and conditions under which the LICAP will operate, such agreement to be consistent with the terms of this resolution; and be it further.
The LICAP shall consist of nine members. Five entities shall have a permanent membership position: the Suffolk County Water Authority, the Long Island Water Conference, the Nassau-Suffolk Water Commissioner's Association and the Nassau and Suffolk Departments of Health. Each entity or member may designate a representative to attend meetings, and such representative shall serve at the pleasure of his or her designating entity. There shall be four appointed members, two members to be appointed from Nassau County and two members to be appointed from Suffolk County, as set forth below. A quorum of the LICAP shall consist of no fewer than five voting members, which, at a minimum, must include at least three of the permanent members and at least one such member from Nassau County and at least one member from Suffolk County; any subcommittee of the Council shall contain equal representation from each County and at least one permanent member.
The Suffolk County Executive and the Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature shall each, subject to the approval of the Suffolk County Legislature, appoint one member to the LICAP, each of whom shall reside in Suffolk County. Each appointment shall be for a four-year term except the initial nonpermanent members of the LICAP shall have staggered terms, with the two Suffolk members having initial terms of one and four years and the two Nassau members having initial terms of two and three years. All members appointed pursuant to this subsection should have a background in hydrology, geology, hydrogeology, public sanitation, public health, and engineering, academia with a specialization in the study of groundwater issues, environmental protection and advocacy, or employment with a public water provider. Such members shall continue to hold office until their successors are appointed and qualified, provided that the appointment of a successor to a member who has continued to hold office after the expiration of his or her original term shall be for the unexpired portion of the new term; and provided, further, that the vacancies in the LICAP occurring as a result of something other than the expiration of the term shall be filled by the appointing authority, subject to the approval of the Legislature, for the unexpired term.
The Suffolk County Executive, the Presiding Officer of the Suffolk County Legislature, the Minority Leader of the Suffolk County Legislature, the Commissioner of the Department of Public Works, the Commissioner of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, and the Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development and Planning, or their representatives, and the Suffolk County Soil and Water Conservation District, shall serve as ex-officio members of the LICAP, but shall not be entitled to vote, and a representative from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the United States Geologic Survey and the Long Island Groundwater Research Institute shall be invited to serve as ex-officio members.
[Amended 11-9-2013 by Res. No. 997-2013]
The members of the LICAP shall receive no salary or compensation for their services.
Any LICAP member may be removed by his/her appointing or designating authority for cause, including a member's failure to attend at least half of all regularly scheduled meetings during the calendar year.
The Chair and Vice-Chair of the LICAP shall rotate between the Suffolk County Water Authority, the Long Island Water Conference and the Nassau-Suffolk Water Commissioner's Association on a two-year basis. The first Chair shall be the Suffolk County Water Authority's representative. The Chair shall keep a record of its resolutions, transactions, findings and determinations, which shall be public record, and shall adopt and file with the Clerks of the Nassau County and Suffolk County Legislatures bylaws governing its operations, including bylaws governing procurement that comply with all state requirements and, to the extent possible and reasonable, provide for competitive solicitation of goods and services.
The LICAP shall meet quarterly, or more often as agreed to by the LICAP. Notice of such meetings shall be provided, and such meetings shall be open to the public in compliance with the provisions of the Public Officers Law. Minutes of the meetings shall be kept, and meeting agendas and minutes shall be provided to all LICAP members and ex-officio members.
The LICAP is hereby authorized and empowered to receive and expend public and private funds, including grants from nonprofit foundations, agencies, corporations, including public benefit corporations, and private entities, contract with public corporations for in-kind services and may apply for and accept grants, donations, subsidies, or other funding from federal, state and local governments, and enter into contracts for and agree to accept such grants, donations or subsidies in accordance with its approved purposes and make grants to public education and/or research institutions, such funds to be used for research purposes, provided that no more than 15% of the LICAP funds are used to pay for overhead or associated costs.
The LICAP shall have the power and authority to enter into agreements with consultants and experts and to pay for their services; and to provide for such other expenses as may be necessary and proper within the appropriations therefor.
The members of the LICAP shall be subject to the Codes of Ethics contained in Chapter 77 of the Suffolk County Code or Section 2218 of the Nassau County Charter and Sections 22-4.2 and 22-4.3 of the Nassau County Administrative Code depending on their place of residence. Notwithstanding the foregoing, LICAP staff members employed by a public corporation with its own Code of Ethics shall be subject only to the employing entity's Code of Ethics.
LICAP members and the firms that they work for, or are associated with, shall be precluded from providing any paid services to LICAP.
The LICAP shall prepare and release a State of the Aquifer Report (the "Report") within one year of its first meeting and thereafter provide annual updates of the Report. The Report and its updates shall be issued to the Nassau and Suffolk County Executives, the Nassau and Suffolk County Legislatures, and public water purveyors in Nassau and Suffolk Counties and posted on the LICAP website.
LICAP, on an annual basis, shall conduct at least one public hearing in each county for the purpose of soliciting information necessary for the Report's preparation on issues of regional concern affecting the SSA from members of the public and organizations involved in groundwater research, management and advocacy; and be it further.
LICAP shall establish two standing committees: the 2040 Water Resources and Infrastructure Subcommittee (2040 WRIS) and the Water Resource Opportunities Subcommittee (WROS).
The 2040 WRIS shall develop a 2040 WRIS Plan to identify long-term risks to the water supply industry created by global climate change. The 2040 WRIS Plan shall recommend short-term measures to strengthen public water distribution systems against these long-term risks, including, but not limited to, the development of well placement criteria, mechanism for hardening water distribution system infrastructure in coastal areas and loss mitigation strategies, including methods for isolating vulnerable portions of distribution system during an event.
The WROS will identify and quantify short-term risks, if any, to groundwater resources.
Within three years of the Report, LICAP shall issue a Groundwater Resources Management Plan (the "Plan"), including, but not limited to:
Qualitative and quantitative groundwater data;
Anthropogenic threats to groundwater quality and quantity;
Existing regulatory groundwater management regimes;
Assessment of adequacy of existing groundwater management regulations;
Development of recommendations;
Methods for implementing the recommendations and proposed regulatory amendments; and
Implementation program, including stakeholders, roles and responsibilities, prioritization of actions, schedule and costs.
In preparing the Plan, the LICAP may:
Conduct surveys, studies, and research programs that address regional groundwater needs, including general protection, enhancement, quality of life, sustainable growth and development dependent on the SSA, and distribute information and recommendations resulting from such surveys, studies, and research programs;
Consult and cooperate with the state government, its political subdivisions and public and private entities in matters related to regional groundwater protection issues; and
Establish relationships with local universities and colleges on groundwater protection issues.
The LICAP shall provide public notice upon completion of a draft Groundwater Resources Management Plan and shall conduct at least one public hearing in each county on such draft prior to the issuance of the Plan.
Notice of all hearings conducted pursuant to this chapter shall comply with the requirements of the Public Officers Law and shall, in addition, be provided to appropriate organizations identified by the LICAP.
If the LICAP maintains funds in its exclusive custody and control or enters into any agreement providing for the payment of LICAP funds, it shall, consistent with the requirements of General Municipal Law § 239-h, engage a certified public accountant to complete an annual financial audit and audit of the internal control structure of the LICAP, a copy of which shall be included in the annual report:
The LICAP shall file with the Nassau and Suffolk County Executives and the Nassau and Suffolk County Legislatures the terms and conditions of its employment/consultant agreements within 30 days of entering into such agreements; and
The LICAP shall be subject to audit by the Nassau and Suffolk County Comptrollers. LICAP need not prepare such reports, if either county, on LICAP's behalf, engages a third party to perform work at the direction of LICAP or if either county hires employees to work on LICAP projects.
The LICAP shall focus its efforts solely on quality and quantity of groundwater in the SSA and methods for preventing further degradation of such waters, improving these waters and ensuring their quality and quantity for future generations and those issues as requested by either County Executive and/or either County Legislature.
This article shall become effective upon the approval and adoption of a substantially similar resolution or ordinance by Nassau County; provided, however, that such a resolution or ordinance shall not be construed as "substantially similar" if it affects the powers of Suffolk County or its members on the LICAP, including, but not limited to, representation, voting powers or Suffolk County's financial contribution to the LICAP.
The LICAP will expire and the terms of its members will terminate five years after the effective date of this article or the effective date of the ordinance adopted by Nassau County, whichever is later, unless both counties enact a new resolution/ordinance reauthorizing LICAP and its mission.