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Hearing on Water Quality Grants

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 18:44
Town Pond in East Hampton
David E. Rattray

The East Hampton Town Board will hold a public hearing next Thursday at 2 p.m. on a recommendation from its water quality technical advisory committee that it award more than $500,000, or possibly more than $750,000, to four, or possibly five, projects using money from the portion of the community preservation fund allocated to water quality improvements.

The board heard the recommendation during its Sept. 15 meeting via video conference, when Chris Clapp of the committee and Mellissa Winslow, a senior environmental analyst in the Natural Resources Department, detailed the applications favored by the committee. The recommendation results from a request for applications issued in June and due last month. Ten proposals were received in this year's second round of applications (in June the board looked favorably on the committee's recommendation to direct a total of $1.14 million to eight projects). Four proposals were recommended for funding, a fifth was approved if money was available, and five were not recommended.

Water quality project applications must satisfy criteria including measurable benefit, durability, use of demonstrated technology, feasibility, and a commitment by the property owner. Once criteria are met, they are rated based on factors such as water quality improvement, significance of impact, targeting of a water body, priority pollutants to mitigate, cost, and a maintenance and monitoring protocol.

The committee recommended awarding $82,395 to the Springs Improvement Society for an advanced on-site wastewater treatment system at Ashawagh Hall, Mr. Clapp told the board. The system would treat 800 gallons per day at peak use, he said. The community center is close to Accabonac Harbor, an ecologically compromised water body that has seen other mitigation efforts. As a not-for-profit organization, the Springs Improvement Society is eligible for 100 percent of design and installation expenses.

The Center for Clean Water Technology at Stony Brook University submitted an application for a nitrogen-reducing biofilter at the rectory at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in East Hampton. The center, Mr. Clapp said, believes an 80-percent reduction of nitrogen from wastewater is possible. The rectory is near the north end of Town Pond, which feeds Hook Pond. The committee recommended a $49,000 award.

Another proposal for Town Pond came from the Village of East Hampton, which hopes to conduct environmental dredging of accumulated silt and nutrients. "They're looking for total removal of those nutrients from the pond to improve the health of the pond," Mr. Clapp said, "as well as improve stormwater retention." The project would benefit Hook Pond as well, he said.

The plan has the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's approval, and would be monitored by the United States Geological Survey, "which is also a great partnership," Mr. Clapp said. The committee recommended an award of $191,500.

The Crow's Nest, a hotel, cottages, and restaurant at the south end of Lake Montauk, another compromised water body, was recommended for an award for an upgraded septic system. As it is a commercial property, the recommended award was capped at $200,000, out of a requested $488,567.

If the money is available, the committee recommended a $230,001 award to the Village of Sag Harbor for rain gardens and pervious pavers to reduce stormwater flow along Bay Street. A "reasonable amount" of phosphorus and pathogen reduction would result, Mr. Clapp said. If C.P.F. money is not available this year, the project would be considered in the first round of next year's cycle, he said.

The recommendations to fund projects at Ashawagh Hall, the St. Luke's Episcopal Church rectory, Town Pond, and the Crow's Nest total $522,895. Adding the Sag Harbor Village project would bring the total allocation to $752,896. The hearing starts at 2 p.m.

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