Northport officials celebrated the completion of the village’s sewer upgrade and wastewater treatment project Friday.
The project’s last phase was a yearlong effort to replace two deteriorating cast iron sewer lines measuring eight inches in diameter that ran under Woodbine Avenue and along the Northport harbor shoreline. Those pipes have been replaced by a single 12-inch-diameter pipeline made of high-density polyethylene.
“The old system is 85 years old, and it was collapsing. The pipes were actually turning into graphite like a pencil, and we needed to replace it before that happened,” said Northport trustee Damon McMullen, the village’s commissioner of wastewater treatment system who led the project, at a news conference in Scudder Park. “This literally was done in the nick of time.”
McMullen said the old pipe’s locations under a road and water presented special challenges. “If either collapsed you’d have major pollution. You could have lost a piece of the road along Woodbine Avenue,” he said.
The pipe replacement project also took special pains to minimize its effect on the harbor, McMullen said. “One of the major things we did do was directional drilling underneath the harbor, so that way we wouldn’t be disturbing the bottom and have the least impact on the environment,” he said.
Northport began the sewer upgrade and wastewater treatment project in 2013 as part of a mandate from a 2003 agreement among New York, Connecticut and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to improve water quality in the Long Island Sound region. Northport officials were required to reduce the sewer treatment plant’s nitrogen output to 10 pounds or less per day.
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 pipe replacement phase cost $5.8 million, with more than $5 million paid for with state funding. “This is the perfect example of government that works together,” village Mayor George Doll said Friday.
The village will continue work on improving the water quality in the harbor by bringing dozens of homes along the harbor onto the sewer system, McMullen said.