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Brookhaven's Romaine wants proposed Medford casino to be connected to a sewage treatment plant

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine on Nov. 13,

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine on Nov. 13, 2014. He is asking in April 2015 that a plan for a casino include a sewer line hookup. Credit: James Carbone

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Edward P. Romaine has urged Suffolk County to require a proposed Medford gaming site to connect to a nearby sewage treatment facility instead of using cesspools to treat waste water.

Romaine, in his letter to the Suffolk County Department of Health Services, said the $65 million casino parlor that Suffolk Off-Track Betting wants to build should be hooked up to a sewage treatment facility rather than using "cesspools and septics as a sanitary system."

He indicated that forcing Suffolk OTB to connect to the nearest treatment facility on Woodside Avenue in Medford could prove costly but is warranted as cesspools and septics produce high levels of nitrogen along with bacteria and pathogens.

The April 6 letter didn't provide estimates as to what it would cost the county to hook up the facility.

"While this option may cost more, OTB is a public entity that should be held to a higher degree of public responsibility," the supervisor wrote. "Failure to do so would be less than responsible."

Suffolk OTB president Phil Nolan, in an interview Monday, said he anticipates using cesspools and septic tanks at the site but will connect to a treatment facility if required.

"On this issue, we're going to follow the rules and regulations of the county," he said. "We've been working with them on our plans."

Suffolk County officials on Monday said its sanitary code would dictate site requirements.

"There are very strict parameters for water supply and sewer disposal," said Grace Kelly-McGovern, spokeswoman for Suffolk's health department.

She added Suffolk OTB has submitted its wastewater application but it won't be reviewed until next month.

The Medford site, zoned for an indoor amusement establishment such as a casino, would be on a Long Island Expressway service road east of Route 112. It's expected to have up to 1,000 video lottery terminals.

A legal opinion from Manhattan-based Nixon Peabody LLP released last week supported Brookhaven officials' contention that the video lottery parlor is exempt from town zoning laws.

Suffolk County Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), who is opposed to the casino and was copied on Romaine's letter, has said that Brookhaven has the authority to enforce its local ordinances and zoning codes.

If Suffolk can force the casino to connect to the nearest sewage treatment facility, then Brookhaven has the power to enforce its ordinances and zoning codes, Calarco wrote to Romaine, a Republican.

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