Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone signed legislation this past weekend to authorize an agreement with the Village of Westhampton Beach to connect its business district and two condominium complexes to the county’s wastewater treatment plant at Gabreski Airport.
The bill would also allow the village to create a sewer district.
“The connection of this business district to a modern wastewater treatment plant is a win-win that will protect water quality and keep Westhampton Beach’s economy moving forward,” said Mr. Bellone in a statement this weekend. “This is perfect example of how local governments can work cooperatively to share services and save taxpayer dollars.”
“We were delighted to hear that the legislature unanimously passed the resolution allowing for the village’s connection to the Gabreski sewer treatment facility,” said Village of Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore. “The installation of sewers in Westhampton Beach will not only revitalize our Main Street, but will eliminate nearly 5,000 pounds of nitrogen annually from our bay.”
Westhampton Beach officials had considered building a new sewage treatment plant in the village, but ultimately decided the project would be too expensive. A village sewer consultant has estimated that the village will save about $7.4 million by contributing towards an expansion of the county’s treatment plant, known as Suffolk County Sewer District 24, which serves Gabreski Airport, the Air National Guard base and the companies located in the Hampton Business District on the airport property.
The county’s treatment plant at Gabreski Airport will require modifications in order to accommodate the additional sewage from Westhampton Beach. The sewage treatment plant will use the connection fee of $1.8 million from the village to offset the cost of the future modifications, which will increase the plant’s capacity by 50 percent.
Westhampton Beach will be expected to pay $80,000 a year to continue utilizing the treatment plant.
“The Town of Southampton is working very hard to restore our waterways and improve our septic systems without placing undue burden on property owners and businesses,” said Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “The county’s generous offer to help the Westhampton Beach business district connect to the sewage treatment plant at Gabreski Airport is a smart way to ensure we are protecting the environment and helping the Westhampton Beach business district grow.”
“I am pleased that County Executive Bellone and my colleagues on the legislature recognize the importance of this project for Suffolk County’s economic and environmental health,” added Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming. “A thriving downtown Westhampton Beach and mitigation of nitrogen pollution to Moneybogue Creek, Quantuck Bay and Moriches Bay will benefit our entire region.”
The connection has received approval from the Suffolk County Sewer Agency and is subject to approval from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Groundbreaking on the sewer district is expected to begin in late 2021.
The village and the county anticipate this program will be included in matching funds from New York State for savings reached under the county’s shared services initiative.
The Suffolk County Shared Services Plan, SuffolkShare, was unanimously approved in September and is projected to save nearly $37 million over the course of two years among local governments.
SuffolkShare is a 10-point plan that provides an intermunicipal framework to enhance service offerings and improve the ability for local governments to work together to implement and augment their programs and initiatives.