Following Outcry, SUEZ Removes Fuel Tanks from Plan for New Headquarters

BY KATHY KAHN

SUEZ recently announced that it hopes to move its headquarters to Old Mill Rd. in West Nyack on property currently owned by Tilcon. The water company’s first public hearing for the project on May 8 brought stiff opposition from the public, particularly Suez’s plan to store gas tanks that could be tapped in the event of a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Less than one week later, SUEZ officials returned to the table, informing would-be neighbors the company has pulled the fuel tanks from its plans. Rather than being at odds with the community, SUEZ agreed to rely upon fleet gas cards and have its employees use them at regular gas stations, thereby eliminating plans to build a 10,000-gallon gas aboveground gas tank and a 2,000-gallon diesel fuel tank at its new headquarters.

Residents embraced the amendment by SUEZ. Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann also expressed his support of SUEZ’s decision to drop the storage tanks from their plans. The property in question is adjacent to land that is mined by Tilcon – a process that entails daily blasting. Residents expressed concern that fuel tanks, though proposed to be triple-insulated, might be compromised by Tilcon’s blasting.

SUEZ Vice President/General Manager Chris Graziano issued a statement May 13, saying, “We listened to the views expressed by our neighbors and have agreed to modify our site plan…this is an ideal location for our new headquarters and we are eager to stay in the Town of Clarkstown. Our site plan is highly responsible use for the property, meets all the current zoning requirements and places us near Lake DeForest, our most important asset.”

SUEZ’s current location, also in West Nyack, is on the market, and the company has taken a 30-year lease with Tilcon to relocate its headquarters to 162 Old Mill Road where it will retrofit Tilcon’s former headquarters for its own use and add an additional building for storage of pipes, hydrants, valves and fittings. The storage yard will be located at the most remote location from homes surrounding the site.

It will also add one additional parking space to the current 113 already in place, as well as additional parking for customers. SUEZ has planned a private meeting with its new residential neighbors on Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m.