Northport officials are trying to figure out how to get the most out of the newly upgraded village wastewater treatment plant.
The third and final phase of the $13.3 million treatment plant overhaul started in February and is to be completed by the end of summer. The project includes replacing two critical sections of the village’s fragile Depression-era sewer lines.
But village officials are wondering how much unused processing capacity the upgraded system has and if future improvements can be constructed to increase capacity within state limits. They also want to study whether properties not already connected to the system can — or should — be added.
“In order to develop policy, the village needs to understand what its options are,” Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin said.
Village trustees have hired Ronkonkoma-based engineering firm J.R. Holzmacher P.E. to assess options for the future. Board members voted at their March 21 meeting to approve an agreement with the firm not to exceed $10,000.
The board in February approved a $9,000 agreement with Holzmacher to analyze extending the sewer collection system to harborside properties that currently use cesspools — about a quarter of all properties along the harbor.
“The first study looks at getting the sewage to the plant from the remaining harborside properties,” Tobin said. “The second study looks at the consequences for the plant, how to increase its capacity, and who else gets to use this limited resource and at what cost.”
The overall project started in 2013 and is part of a mandate from a 2003 agreement among New York State, Connecticut and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound region. It requires Northport to cut the sewer treatment plant’s nitrogen output to 10 pounds or less per day from its 2012 levels of 21 pounds per day, Tobin said.
In the first two project phases, the village upgraded its sewer treatment plant at Scudder Beach, relined sewer mains and rehabilitated manhole covers to prevent groundwater and storm water from entering the sewer system. The third phase replaces two 8-inch-diameter lines that run beneath Woodbine Avenue and along the Northport Harbor shoreline, where pipes and a pump station are submerged at high tide and exposed at low tide. One 12-inch-diameter pipeline made of high-density polyethylene will replace both. It will be tunneled underneath the sand and run parallel to Woodbine, between Fifth Avenue and Beach Avenue.