During the fall, when the leaves are turning to beautiful colors, both the reservoir and the Massapequa Lake are a sight to see, especially when it is right in the center of Massapequa, New York. In the 1970s, however, storm drains were installed along the Massapequa Greenbelt Preserve to funnel street liquids and stormwater to the creek and the man-made draining ponds, which caused pollution to contaminate the lake water. 

When heavy rain storms caused the water in the creek to run faster and the water table to rise, the water from the cesspools and septic tanks in the neighborhood also drained into the ponds. After the overflow water reached the spillways, it created huge detergent bubbles and street runoff foam bubbles that began to collect on the rims of the spillways.

There were periods of time when the foam at the Merrick Road spillway was so thick that the cars would often stop to make sure it was safe to continue. The Massapequa Lake was dredged in the 1980s in order to clean up the lake bed. A great deal of Indian artifacts were found during the construction of that project, and many of them were brought to the Indian museum at Garvey Point.

In the past two years, Nassau County has undergone a massive undertaking to filter and increase the water flow in the creek, as well as to dredge and reed the pond beds of silt in order to allow the water to drain back into the groundwater. In addition, the Great South Bay will also be free from pollution when the project is completed. Also, sludge from the east side of the reservoir is being dredged to be removed from the Massapequa Lake as well. Built in 1888, the former Brooklyn Water Works Reservoir was built ten years before NYC and its five-borough framework of government.

Brooklynites were already drinking water from Massapequa’s reservoir. In the early 1930s, four deep reservoirs were constructed between Massapequa and Baldwin to the north of the Brooklyn and Montauk Railroad, then known as the Brooklyn and Montauk Railway.

The Massapequa Lake project used horses and scoops for construction machinery in its early days, not steam-powered equipment. Over the years both lakes have taken on the look of a natural wonder complete with bass, sandhill cranes and other water fowl, lily pads and a number of fish species out of the cold water of the Massapequa Lake.


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