Great Neck sewer district expansion to be unveiled

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The Great Neck Water Pollution Control District's sewage facility officially launches Friday, having undergone a $60 million expansion and absorbed the services of the Village of Great Neck.

The village and sewer district had operated 500 feet apart for more than 70 years, when officials began collaborating a decade ago in the wake of state-ordered cuts to nitrogen that would have required upgrades to both facilities.

Officials plan a ribbon cutting Friday at the site on East Shore Road.

In December, the sewer district began treating the village's waste, and last week, the expanded facility's solar-panel system, which generates 13 kilowatts of power, went online, said Christopher Murphy, district superintendent.

The collaboration is expected to save ratepayers in the combined district about $850,000 on utility costs in 2014, officials said. "The village was able to get out of the sewer business, and we were able to benefit through economies of scale," Murphy said.

The sewer district, which serves most of Great Neck peninsula, went from providing services to a third of the village to the entire village, from 15,000 residents to 25,000. The sewer district sold $60 million in bonds for the project, Murphy said.

Funding from various sources included a $5 million construction grant from the state Department of Environmental Conservation; and a $750,000 state grant for microturbines, which are expected to be running by October. The state also issued a $400,000 local government efficiency grant.

"It would have been exceptionally difficult for us to rebuild our own," Village Mayor Ralph Kreitzman said. "We decided to expand the district to cover all of my village's needs and to have them take over the processing."

The DEC has decommissioned the village's site, which is expected to be demolished, Kreitzman said. Kreitzman said he may move the village's public works department and village hall to the site. The village would sell the public works facility, he said.

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Many "plants on the North Shore weren't designed or built to remove nitrogen," said Murphy. "That's what was required to be removed; it's basically trying to put a snow plow on a Honda Civic. It's just not made to do it."

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