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Steve Bellone: Suffolk to begin planning sewer expansions

At a press conference in Sayville on Wednesday,

At a press conference in Sayville on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2016, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, left, talks about the creation of a new sewer district that will support economic growth around Long Island MacArthur Airport. At right, is Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi. Credit: Ed Betz

Suffolk County plans to start designing sewer expansions along the Great South Bay in Sayville and Oakdale and create a new sewer district surrounding Long Island MacArthur Airport, County Executive Steve Bellone announced Wednesday.

County legislators next month will consider $4.5 million in funding for engineering and design of the South Shore expansion and $1 million to draw up the MacArthur expansion. Both projects would eventually connect to the Southwest Sewer District and Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant, officials said at a news conference outside the Sayville Chamber of Commerce.

“These are two important issues — economic development and water quality,” said Bellone, who appeared with state and Islip Town officials. “This forms the foundation for tackling those problems.”

Bellone acknowledged that money for construction has not been secured. But he said he expected the federal government will begin funding fund sewers in the county, and Suffolk needs to be ready.

State Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville) said he would work to secure funding in Albany to help fund construction. “I look forward to getting back to session and working to ensure Long Island gets the infrastructure money it desperately needs,” Croci said.

Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter noted that aircraft that land at MacArthur have their waste pumped and trucked away.

The sewer expansions in Sayville and Oakdale would occur after completion of the extension of the Southwest Sewer District to Great River. The extension is funded under a $388 million state and federal grant to improve coastal resiliency along the South Shore.

The new MacArthur Industrial District would service the town’s airport and surrounding commercial and industrial areas. It would connect to a sewer line the county plans to run through Islandia. Islandia in August signed an agreement with Suffolk to allow the line to be built under Johnson Avenue in the village.

Suffolk Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) acknowledged a county deficit pegged as high as $180 million. But said this is money well spent. “It’s a statement of priorities.” The $4.5 million would come from diverting a portion of the money from a Crooked Hill Road project near the Heartland Town Square. The $1 million to plan the MacArthur expansion would come from cost savings in another fund, according to Deputy County Executive Peter Scully.

Expanding sewers to Sayville and Oakdale has been discussed for decades. But scandals, cost overruns and political corruption surrounding the Southwest Sewer District in the 1970s stalled plans. About 75 percent of Suffolk County is not connected to sewers, county officials said.

Oakdale Chamber of Commerce President Ron Beattie said that while sewers are vital for the downtown, zoning and planning should be in place to prevent overdevelopment.

Bellone on Wednesday also pressed for a proposed fee of $1 per 1,000 gallons of water to fund wastewater treatment, which he dropped earlier this year when state lawmakers balked. He said he plans to propose it again next year.

Neither Croci nor Carpenter would not take a position on the fee Wednesday. They deferred to Bellone, who said the administration would provide them with additional information to justify the fee.


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