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Village worries about proposed sewage treatment plant

A hotel and assisted living facilities are proposed

A hotel and assisted living facilities are proposed on a 75-acre parcel in Smithtown owned by Gyrodyne. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A proposed sewage treatment plant on Gyrodyne property could threaten drinking water for Head of the Harbor village residents and the health of Stony Brook Harbor, village Mayor Douglas Dahlgard wrote in a letter to county officials. 

“The land slopes downward from the Gyrodyne property to the Harbor,” and chemicals from Route 25A, where the company’s property is located, have contaminated village wells in the past, Dahlgard wrote in a May 27 letter to county sewer agency officials and legislators. 

“The issues raised in the Mayor’s letter should be raised and addressed by the environmental review as part of the SEQRA process,” Suffolk County Department of Public Works Commissioner Joseph Brown said in a statement, referring to the New York State-mandated environmental review by its acronym. “The SEQRA process for Gyrodyne has not been completed and therefore, the Sewer Agency is not currently prepared to make final determination or grant any binding approval for this project.”

County officials have begun a preliminary review of Gyrodyne’s proposal, a county spokeswoman said. Its purpose is to determine what type of wastewater and disposal systems would be appropriate for the site or, alternatively, how the site might connect to a county sewer district.  

Gyrodyne president Gary Fitlin said in an email that a treatment plant would offer a “unique opportunity to substantially reduce nitrogen loading in a public-private partnership on an expedited time frame,” replacing less efficient septic systems in use at the company’s property and potentially also those along Lake Avenue in St. James if that area is connected to the plant, an idea floated by Smithtown Supervisor Edward Wehrheim.

Dahlgard and others, including Brookhaven officials and residents, are skeptical of planned development of the Gyrodyne site for uses like medical offices, a hotel and an assisted living facility, and have raised concerns over the increased flow that would result from connecting a Lake Avenue sewer line to the plant.

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