A new feasibility study will examine the cost to connect about 1,000 Great Neck homes to a public sewer system, which officials described as the first step before they could consider whether to ditch the use of cesspools and septic tanks.
The study will evaluate the price tag to convert about 800 residential homes in the Village of Great Neck Estates and 200 homes in Harbor Hills, a nearby neighborhood in the Town of North Hempstead, to sewer lines run by the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District, officials said.
Great Neck Estates Mayor William Warner said he’s holding a "wait-and-see attitude" until the study is released, which district officials said may not come until early 2022.
"Without seeing the study and looking at the numbers and what’s involved in hooking up, I’m neutral," the mayor said.
In a similar study released last year, the Woodbury-based Cameron Engineering hired by the district put the cost of converting 80 businesses on Plandome Road and 408 Manhasset homes at as much as $40 million.
Warner, whose home has a cesspool that costs him between $700 to $1,000 every 18 months to clean, said the maintenance cost that homeowners bear would go away if they are connected to the district’s system.
But the cost-benefit analysis would largely depend on how much it would take to build the infrastructure, the cost implications for residents, and whether there’s federal or state funding, he said.
"Too many moving parts here to know where we stand until the study is completed," Warner said. "We will see what they find out and see what they recommend. Then it puts the ball in our court, and we have to think about whether we want to do it or not."
In a prepared statement Sunday evening, North Hempstead Supervisor Judi Bosworth said: "Transitioning to sewers would certainly be a significant environmental upgrade. The feasibility study ought to help clarify the financial impact so an informed decision can be made next year."
District officials said the study would not generate information on how the project would be paid for or provide cost estimates for each homeowner. What it will include is the infrastructure cost and associated environmental, economic and social benefits.
"It’s the first step to see if it’s feasible. They obviously have the capacity to add on additional homes. So it’s just how much it would cost to do the infrastructure," Legis. Ellen W. Birnbaum (D-Great Neck) said. "Septic tanks often have seepage, and this would protect our groundwater."
The district’s wastewater treatment plant, which was upgraded in 2014, can process 5.3 million gallons of wastewater per day and now services about 3 million gallons daily.
The cost of the study is budgeted in Nassau County’s capital plan for $150,000, and the district will be reimbursed once the study is completed, officials said.
Steve Reiter, chairman of the district’s board of commissioners, said the study would soon be awarded to an engineering company and will likely take six months to complete.
About 70 homes in Great Neck Estates are connected to sewer lines managed by the district and the Belgrave Water Pollution Control District, Reiter said.