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Mastic Beach seeks $11M in grants to build sewage plant

Town Hall in the Village of Mastic Beach

Town Hall in the Village of Mastic Beach is at 427 Neighborhood Rd. Photo Credit: Carl Corry, 2011

Mastic Beach officials want up to $11 million in federal and state grant funds to design a sewage-treatment plant that would upgrade residential cesspools and draw more commercial businesses by increasing limited capacity.

"We're going to shoot for the sky," village Mayor Bill Biondi said Monday. "We think there is money out there."

Environmental advocates are also hopeful that a treatment facility would minimize nitrogen levels negatively impacting local waterways.

State Sen. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) on Monday confirmed he has secured $500,000 in state grants for the village's sewer infrastructure. The money was part of a years-old $2 million Brookhaven Town grant to improve the Mastic Beach, Mastic and Shirley areas.

It is expected to be handed over once the board chooses one of three bidding engineering firms; a decision on the request for proposals could come at Tuesday's monthly trustee meeting.

Each of the firms outlined their plans for the treatment center at a work session last week.

Biondi said he has already contacted county, state and federal officials to fund the initiative. But not everyone believes millions of dollars in grant funds can be raised for the project.

"Where's the grant money going to come from?" asked resident Jane Bonner, 63, who is tepid on bringing a treatment facility to the village.

A sewage-treatment facility, which wouldn't begin construction for at least a couple of years, would be the first of its kind in Mastic Beach, which became incorporated three years ago.

Currently, each village home has a "bare minimal" cesspool system that runs through a pipe, leading into the ground, the mayor said.

If raised, an $11-million sewage facility would cover the entire village.

A lesser option, such as a $4- million facility, would be built underneath a ballfield at Mastic Beach Road and Washington Avenue, and may draw commercial businesses because more customers would be allowed in diners, village officials said, adding that only 15 patrons at a time are now allowed because of a lack of a treatment facility.

During superstorm Sandy, electrical components of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in Nassau County were damaged, resulting in sewage being discharged into Reynolds Channel and the Atlantic Ocean. The Nassau County Legislature recently agreed to approve nearly $260 million for equipment repairs at the park.

Biondi said he isn't worried about damage to an underground treatment facility because it wouldn't be constructed in a flood zone.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, warned any sewage plant needs to be protected from tidal surges. She believes nitrogen from local septic tanks pollutes Forge River and Moriches Bay.

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