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Suffolk residents seethe over commercial sewer hookups

Residents of North Babylon and Deer Park have launched a petition campaign asking Suffolk County to stop allowing developers and businesses to hook up to the Southwest Sewer District before residents have the chance to do so.

They are organizing as Concerned Citizens For Sewers and are criticizing the county for granting sewer access to Tanger Outlet mall in Deer Park - and giving preliminary approval to the Heartland Town Square megaproject proposed for the Pilgrim Psychiatric Center site - while homeowners nearby have been waiting for such access for three decades.

"These projects keep getting pushed through while homeowners have been waiting," said Matt Groh, 43, a civic leader from North Babylon who helped form the group. "It's not fair for them to get passed by again."

Gilbert Anderson, Suffolk County's public works commissioner, said the county is studying the feasibility of expanding the sewer district to include more homes in those two communities along with West Islip and Wyandanch.

Tanger, he said, built a "force main," in which waste is forced through with pumps rather than by gravity. He said the nature of the main meant that nearby homes could not connect without being flooded with sewage.

The Southwest Sewer District was created in the 1970s to serve much of Babylon Town. Anderson said the county would seek federal funds for any expansion project.

While a business district or development might profit from the investment of connecting to the sewer system, the cost for a home or a small group of homes to connect can be prohibitively expensive, he said.

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