North Fork Water Main Work Gets Underway, as Water Authority Seeks Grants for New Projects

Pictured Above: Water Authority workers with Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell at the project on the Main Road in Southold that is now underway.

The Suffolk County Water Authority is in the midst of two water main projects in Southold Town designed to greatly improve the distribution of water within the town.

This is in addition to a new transmission line from Route 105 in Riverhead to the Southold Town line that is currently in the permitting process.

The Water Authority recently completed the installation of nearly 5,000 feet of 16-inch ductile iron water main on Wickham Avenue in Mattituck. This project is part of SCWA’s North Fork Water Supply Plan to move water more efficiently. 

A second project on Main Road in the hamlet of Southold is currently underway. During this project, nearly 4,000 feet of aging and undersized water main will be replaced with larger ductile iron water main, which is resistant to breaks and expected to last more than 100 years. The project will connect two large water mains, which will improve the distribution of water in the downtown area.

“These projects will greatly improve water pressure and fire protection in two areas within the Town of Southold,” said SCWA Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Szabo. “They are both part of our long-term plan to upgrade water infrastructure all throughout our service territory.”

“We appreciate the commitment the Suffolk County Water Authority has made to the Town of Southold through infrastructure investments such as these,” said Town of Southold Supervisor Scott Russell. “We will continue to work closely with SCWA officials to make sure that Southold in the future continues to have a sufficient drinking water supply for all residents and businesses.”

The Water Authority is also planning to bring a 24-inch water main transmission line eight miles from Flanders to Laurel, and has applied for a $27 million grant from New York State to the work, though the agency plans to do the work regardless of whether it receives grant funding.

The agency is “currently working on the plans, permits and easement through the county park at Indian Island,” according to Water Authority Spokesman Tim Motz. “So it’s definitely moving along while we wait to hear about potential grant funding. And we are moving forward with this with or without grant funding.”

The main would tie in to an existing main at Route 24 and Route 105 in Flanders, after which it would be laid, using directional drilling, under the Peconic River, through Indian Island County Park and then down Hubbard Avenue and Peconic Bay Boulevard, after which it would travel north in Laurel to be connected at Laurel Lake, where the Water Authority has recently build a two million gallon reservoir.

The Flanders main ties in to Water Authority wells under the Central Pine Barrens, where much of Long Island’s most pristine and deep aquifer is located.

A well in the Pine Barrens can produce about 1,500 gallons per minute, Mr. Szabo told the Southold Town Board in November of 2021, compared with about 200 gallons per minute for wells in Southold.

The Suffolk County Water Authority has also applied for nearly $60 million in funding from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation for water infrastructure projects throughout its service territory.

The Water authority has applied for fifteen advanced oxidation process (treatment projects to remove 1,4-dioxane from groundwater) and five projects to extend water main to residents on private wells threatened by the compounds PFOA and PFOS, which were long found in firefighting foam and other household products and have recently been found to have harmful impacts on health.

“The Suffolk County Water Authority has consistently been proactive in applying for funding for vital infrastructure projects throughout the SCWA service area,” said Mr. Szabo. “This year, we are applying for approximately $30 million dollars more than we did last year. This is a testament to the dedication of our team’s careful analysis of projects and will ensure our customers continue to have water infrastructure prepared to meet all water quality and water quantity needs.”

One project, in Calverton, would install 21,000 feet of water main in the vicinity of South River Road to connect 98 homes to the Water Authority’s water distribution system.

The Water Authority and Riverhead Town have also agreed to collaborate on the addition of 20,330 feet of water main as part of the Manorville/Riverhead public water system project, which will benefit 64 residents within Riverhead Town, which has agreed after years of debate to collaborate with the Water Authority on the project. 

A total of 69 homes could benefit from assistance with water main surcharges, service lines, taps, vaults and surcharges as part of the Speonk connection project, which is a Suffolk County Department of Health Services priority area, if the grants are awarded to the Water Authority, which is also seeking funding to extend 7,500 feet of water main in the vicinity of Old Country Road in Westhampton to connect 64 homes to public water.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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