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$7.5M sought for Northport sewage plant

Jennifer Barrios

Suffolk County Legis. William Spencer, who represents the 18th District, introduced a resolution earlier this month requesting more than $7 million from a county fund for the planned upgrade of Northport Village’s sewage-treatment plant.

The Feb. 7 request for $7,536,000 from the county’s assessment stabilization reserve fund would, if granted, cover most of the roughly $9-million cost of upgrading the plant to reduce its nitrogen output into Northport Harbor. The village is required to reduce nitrogen emissions from the plant by 2014 or face steep daily fines from the state.

Northport Harbor has been subject to increasing outbreaks of red tide, harmful algae blooms that make shellfish in the waters toxic. The algae blooms are fed by increased nitrogen levels, but there is disagreement over the largest sources of the nitrogen in the harbor.

Spencer said he believes the upgrade won’t benefit just the village but Long Island Sound in general and result in support for the measure from other legislators.

“There’s an environmental impact, a public safety risk that’s there,” Spencer said.

The Town of Huntington and Northport Village trustees have also passed resolutions supporting the use of county money for the village’s sewage plant.

Although the village could borrow the money from the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp., a public financing corporation, the effect of such a large loan on a village with an annual budget of $13.5 million would be drastic for taxpayers, village officials have said.

The resolution is now in committee.