Huntington, NY ‐
Over the past several years, the town of Huntington has worked tirelessly to find solutions to the water quality problems that plague our Harbors. Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer stood with County Executive Steve Bellone and many of the other individuals who have fought for our harbors to proudly announce the unanimous approval of Northport Village’s application for Sewer Infrastructure funding. This funding will help Northport upgrade its sewage treatment facility. This additional $3.184 million in grand funding, plus the $1.5 million grant previously secured from New York State, will give Northport a total of $4.7 million. This will substantially assist the Village of Northport with moving forward in these upgrades and the relating infrastructure. This is a win for the environment, but also a win for the taxpayers and the economy.
Legislator Spencer stated that
“The Northport Harbor water quality issue has been a priority of mine since the beginning of my term, I made a promise to my constituents in January, 2012 that I would work to clean up our waterways. The Northport Sewer Treatment Plant is in desperate need of improvement and securing this funding is a huge step in fulfilling that promise. It would not have been possible without the cooperation and hard work of a lot of dedicated people. Securing this money was truly a team effort. I would like to thank Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, our NYS representatives, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment for their steady leadership and support of this project. Finally, Northport Mayor George Doll, Deputy Mayor, Henry Tobin and Village Trustees, Tom Kehoe, Jerry Maline and Damon McMullen deserve a round of applause for their tireless work planning, lobbying, and plodding through red tape with me.”
Henry Tobin, the Deputy Mayor of Northport Village, was present for this announcement and thanked Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone.
“The $3.1 million dollar Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure grant that Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone have arranged, along with their recent success in procuring an additional $1.5 million dollar New York State pass‐through grant, means that approximately half of the $9.2 million cost of the upgrade will not have to be borne by village taxpayers. This is a boon to us and we owe Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone a debt of gratitude.”
Northport Harbor has been plagued by what is known as “red tide” for years. This is due to the extremely high nitrogen levels in the bay which the Northport Sewer Treatment Plant is partially responsible for causing. Red and brown algae tide have been occurring each year and increasing with severity. This is contaminating the shellfish in the bay, which could cause potentially lethal, paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans who consume the shellfish. The Northport and Centerport Harbor’s have contributed to an even larger problem on the Long Island Sound. The Sound contains one of the most significant threats of algae bloom on the East Coast. The upgrades to the Sewer Treatment Plant will reduce the nitrogen levels, which will eventually enable the town to reopen clam beds. It will also enable the town to reopen currently closed beaches, and it will protect public health.
This was a strong victory for the environment, but it also is a victory for the tax payers of Northport and East Northport as well. If the grant was not secured it would have caused substantial increases in sewer costs that would have resulted in more of a burden on the tax payers.
The project is now underway. Residents and taxpayers can breathe a sigh of relief. They will not have to endure a crippling tax hike to upgrade the facility. However, there is still much work that needs to be done. Legislator Spencer shall continue working with all stake holders to help the Village of Northport. The grant funding of $4.684 million will cover approximately half of the predicated costs for the upgrades. The final step will be legislative approval for the authorizations to allocate the money from the grant.