Suffolk County expects to complete a nearly $42 million expansion of a sewage treatment plant in the Hauppauge Industrial Park by the end of next month, officials say.
The expansion will supplement the $34 million installation of 72,800 feet of sewer line, upon which Suffolk County broke ground in July, said Gilbert Anderson, county commissioner of public works.
"We are in the process of expanding the treatment plant to be able to facilitate all of the lots within the industrial district," he said, adding the new capacity and infrastructure will increase the number of parcels served to nearly 400, up from 149.
"This is the largest expansion of county sewers and county treatment facilities since the 1970s," Anderson said.
Officials broke ground on the plant expansion in April 2011. The plant -- between Commerce Drive and Motor Parkway -- will have the capacity to treat 1.65 million gallons of wastewater per day, up from 450,000 gallons, officials said.
Funding for the combined $75.7 million plant and sewer expansion has been bonded in the past five years, Anderson said. The sewer district is expected to pay back the bond through an annual tax.
"Everybody in the district agrees to pay the operation and maintenance portion of the tax," he said. "But in the areas that are expanding, people will have to pay for the construction costs for the expansion through the annual tax."
Hauppauge Industrial Association Long Island president Terri Alessi-Miceli said the projects were "vital," since the previous sewer system "was insufficient."
"This is the second largest industrial park in the Northeast. There are 1,300 companies and 55,000 employees," she said. "You can't do anything else without sewers, so it's one of the things that will afford business owners in this park to expand."
The plant expansion means a second plant at Oser Avenue will be decommissioned and a major main will be installed to force flow between the two plants. The accompanying sewer line installation calls for construction of two pump stations and is estimated to be completed by 2016, Anderson said.
To build each pump station, the county is purchasing two parcels from the Town of Smithtown for recharge basins, and the town is expected to provide an easement to access the stations, Anderson said. The price of the land buy has not been determined, he said.
Smithtown Supervisor Patrick Vecchio said the expansion work is "something we've anticipated for . . . years." Vecchio said last year that he favored lifting height restrictions from 35 feet to 50 feet in the park, but Councilman Robert Creighton, a fellow Republican who is trying to unseat Vecchio, has said he wants to raise building heights up to 62 feet along Motor Parkway.
"We would never be talking about allowing taller buildings in the industrial park if it were not tied to sewer expansion," Vecchio said.
Suffolk County Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset) said that to keep "Suffolk County's economic base growing and robust, it is absolutely critical to invest in this type of infrastructure."
Anderson said the changes allow not only for economic growth, but "for further protection of our groundwater, which is our most important natural resource."