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For Town Pond, a Pump and a Bump

Wed, 12/22/2021 - 16:01

A very welcome Christmas present shows up when least expected

Durell Godfrey

With water levels at Town Pond noticeably low, and residents beginning to wonder whether the situation is related to a recent dredging, the village board voted last week to ask the town for $163,985 more from the community preservation fund to rectify matters.

“What’s the status of the pump at the pond?” asked Arthur Graham, a board member.

“It’s on order,” said Mayor Jerry Larsen.

“Do we have any idea when it’s going to arrive?” Mr. Graham went on.

“No,” said Mr. Larsen.

“The pump was on order,” said Marcos Baladron, village administrator. “It got delayed.”

That exchange happened on Friday, but by Monday the village had received an early Christmas present when the pump, ordered in July by the superintendent of public works, David Collins, unexpectedly showed up.

“It just came in yesterday,” said Jill Helm, secretary at the Department of Public Works.

The pump, which carries water from Hook to Town Pond to maintain the water level when it drops below a certain threshold, had broken down over the summer.

“That shallow well pump had been there for eons,” said Mr. Collins by phone this week. “Then it broke down at the worst time of the year.”

The water in Town Pond, he explained, is “rain runoff.” It is not

spring-fed. “We’ve had an extremely dry year, and we haven’t had the pump to supplement the lack of rain water,” Mr. Collins said.

Exacerbating the issue was the fact that the pond had recently been dredged, which allowed the water level to fall. So, when the pump broke, it created a real crisis. With no rain and no pump, the village suddenly had to maintain five feet of water, instead of

simply topping it off during dry spells. “A half-inch of rain used to fill the pond,” Mr. Collins noted.

The village had to get a permit from the Suffolk County Water Authority to maintain the water level by using nearby hydrants. But, as anyone who has thrown a carnival goldfish in tap water knows, wildlife tends to do poorly in treated water. Once the pump is installed, the hydrants will no longer be necessary, and the water level in Town Pond should return to normal.

Mr. Collins expects to have the new pump up and running by next week. Exactly how the village proposes to use the preservation fund money it has asked for is not yet known.

Also at its meeting on Friday, the village board adopted a resolution to “standardize the purchase of trash and recycling receptacles.” On Aug. 20, members had approved the purchase of 11 trash receptacles and 14 recycling receptacles for $66,075, from Anova furnishings, the sole bidder.

“A lot of money,” said Mr. Larsen. But he was triumphant last week when the receptacles arrived in the village.

“The village will actually, for the first time in its history, be recycling garbage,” he said. “All these years we had recycle bins that all went in the same place, all went in the same garbage bin. So it’s nice to see we’re actually going to make a difference.”

Mr. Collins explained that since East Hampton Town does not do commercial recycling, National Waste Service will make periodic pickups of the bins. His number-one priority in choosing the new bins, he said, was worker safety. When full, the bins can get really heavy. “The new bins have a side door,” he said, that allows workers to slide the garbage out and lift it properly.

An additional priority, in the age of Covid, was to have an “open top” can. The old cans had a spring-loaded door that had to be touched to open. “People did not want to deal with that door,” Mr. Collins said. “People can now just drop something in. They don’t have to touch anything.”

“We tried to find something that’s aesthetically pleasing, too,” he said, but “Ninety percent of municipal trash cans look like an oil drum with a top on it.”

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