The state has rejected an application by Islandia village officials to become the lead agency on a Suffolk County project to build sewers for the Ronkonkoma Hub.
In a March 13 decision, Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens ruled that, based on the scope of the project, the county should be the lead agency on the proposal to build seven miles of sewers from the 58-acre Ronkonkoma Hub mixed-use project to a Central Islip pumping station and a West Babylon wastewater treatment plant.
Islandia Mayor Allan Dorman opposed the county's proposal to place a portion of the sewer piping system along Johnson Avenue in the village, saying the project would disrupt residents. He said he still wants to find a way to move the sewer project outside of Islandia.
"We respect the commissioner's decision, even though we disagree with it," Dorman said. "We're just going to have to look forward and look for alternatives."
The county hailed the decision as the right move, citing the project's multi-jurisdictional scope.
"The decision by the New York State Department of Conservation was expected," county spokeswoman Vanessa Baird-Streeter wrote in an email. "Under any scenario, this project will run along roads that fall under various municipalities, so there is no scenario where the village could act as lead agency for roads not within its jurisdiction. County Executive [Steve] Bellone remains open to working with Islip officials on alternative routes which may open up additional economic development and water-quality improvement opportunities. However, if the county ultimately needs to move forward with the original plan, we remain committed to restoring disturbed roads and would be willing to bond appropriately as part of a road opening permit, within reason."
Last week, Islip officials and county legislators announced they were exploring three alternate sewer routes that would skirt Islandia, but would also more than double the current estimated project cost of $24 million to between $50 million and $55 million.
Dorman said no one has yet officially approached Islandia about the alternate routes.