Minority caucus calls for immediate action on infrastructure and storm preparedness


In the aftermath of the historic storm that caused several inches of flooding in the area, Nassau County Legislators outlined their strategy for making the county more storm resilient.

Record-breaking rainfall turned Long Island roadways into lakes in a matter of hours on Friday, Sept. 29. Legislators Josh Lafazan, Debra Mulé, Carrié Solages, and Delia Whitton discussed ways to strengthen Nassau County’s infrastructure at a press conference last Tuesday. Their plan addresses ways that the county can better cope with these “hundred-year storms.”

Lafazan opened the conference by calling for a legislative hearing on infrastructure needs. He said that the public deserves to know the state of the infrastructure.

“We need to supplement our emergency alert system,” Lafazan said. “It’s antiquated and it’s not in the 21st century.”

Using digital tools to reach all segments of the population is something that Lafazan would like to see implemented. According to Lafazan, this past storm showed that the EAS is not efficient enough. He referenced how the EAS did a poor job during the Hawaii wildfires and he is calling for a complete upgrade to this system.

“Secondly, we need to do a better job on drainage,” Lafazan said. “Drainage is the key in terms of making sure that our roadways are sufficient.”

Lafazan noted that the installations of newer and larger drainage systems need to be evaluated. He wants to use some of the funding from the American Rescue Plan to fix these drainage issues. Also, Lafazan mentioned that there should be an aggressive plan to seek federal aid.

“We should be aggressive in working with our partners in the Senate and in the House to make sure we are the beneficiary here in the county of those dollars,” Lafazan said. “We, as an island, have not adapted fast enough to climate change and there’s a significant cost to inaction.”

Mulé spoke on how there needs to be more resources to go towards the sewer system so that the sinkholes stop opening up. She said that the county needs to receive $1.5 billion to address the needs of the sewer system. Also, some of the sewer lines got backed up on Sept. 29, which caused the flooding to be even worse.

“This is going to happen again and again and again,” Mulé said. “And we need to make sure that this is addressed in the county’s capital plan so that our sewer lines do what they need to do and we don’t have to worry about sewage being where it doesn’t belong.”

Solages echoed Lafazan and Mulé’s statements on this issue as he explained that there needs to be funding from the federal level, to the state level, to Nassau county. He said that the county cannot afford to leave this money on the table, as the infrastructure and sewage system is very outdated. In Elmont, Solages said community members started to smell foul sewer smell due to sewage backing up onto the streets.

“We need our government to adapt,” Solages said.

Whitton explained that the funding is being dispersed slowly. She said it takes a lot of time for the money to go out, but said that the communities in Nassau County deserve better. Whitton, along with the other legislators, believe that repairting the infrastructure should be the priority.

“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to have this infrastructure movement,” Whitton said.