• The San Juan Daily Star

Lawmaker calls for probe of alleged sale of Levittown lake

Rep. Deborah Soto Arroyo

By The Star Staff

Popular Democratic Party Rep. Deborah Soto Arroyo introduced a measure Tuesday that would order the House Natural Resources Committee to investigate the alleged sale, transaction and legal business of a privately owned artificial lake in Levittown that helps prevent flooding.

House Resolution 739 also seeks the possibility that a government agency could acquire the 55-acre body of water as a natural heritage for Puerto Rico.

“Toabajeños became aware of the offer made by the owner of this artificial body of water, which he said is ideal for establishing a water park, generating electricity or a private marina, all for profit,” Soto Arroyo said in a written statement. “However, in the same way, it has been disclosed by groups in favor of environmental rights that the sale would cause environmental damage, in addition to bringing serious negative repercussions to the security of the adjacent communities.”

“We want to investigate what the current condition of this body of water is; if there is a possibility that this lake can be acquired by some public instrumentality to protect it, and if there has been any investment or action by any government entity, both state and federal, to conserve this natural resource, including for the purpose of carrying out cleaning tasks and any other act of mitigation,” Soto Arroyo said.

The Toa Baja legislator added that the lake, built in 1963, initially had the purpose of minimizing flooding in eight sections of the Levittown Urbanization.

“Disrupting this important area through residential or commercial construction in the surrounding areas would negatively impact the drainage of the coastal swamp,” Soto Arroyo said. “In addition, any construction aimed at establishing a marina would entail opening an outlet to the sea, which would increase the probability of more dire floods than those that occurred during the passage of Hurricane Maria.”

“Our intention is to investigate everything related to the state of this artificial lake, and all purchase and sale transactions that are intended to be carried out with it, safeguarding and respecting its ownership, what it represents for the environment and for the residents of Levittown,” the lawmaker said.

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