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East Hampton Town Board Eyes Water Projects

Thu, 05/06/2021 - 16:32

East Hampton Town's water quality technical advisory committee issued recommendations to a supportive town board on Tuesday to fund six projects using money from the portion of the community preservation fund allocated to water quality improvements.

Christopher Clapp of the committee and Mellissa Winslow, a senior environmental analyst in the town's Natural Resources Department and a coordinator for the committee, told the board that the projects were among 11 applications received after the town's solicitation in January. Around $700,000 is available in this round of C.P.F. grant awards, which will be the only one in 2021, Ms. Winslow said.

The Friends of Georgica Pond Foundation has requested the remaining funding for engineering design for bioswales and stormwater catch basins at the rest stop on Montauk Highway in Wainscott. This would reduce nutrient, sediment, and bacteria loads to Georgica Pond, Mr. Clapp said.

The project includes restoration of the site and public access compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act, "all the while leaving as much of the existing vegetation intact and revegetating the area currently used as a kayak launch site, in an effort to divert people to a new, A.D.A.-accessible path," Mr. Clapp said. The committee recommended a $50,000 award toward the $163,500 total cost of engineering design.

At the nearby pondfront parcel that most recently housed the Il Mulino restaurant, the Peconic Land Trust, which bought the property, proposes a permeable reactive barrier along the shoreline, a "hotspot" of nitrogen loading to the pond from upland sources. The committee recommended a $74,428 award, of the project's total cost of $110,278. The Peconic Land Trust will pay for demolition of the restaurant building and restoration of the site, Mr. Clapp said.

The town should award the Village of Sag Harbor $288,800 of the $316,800 cost of the final engineering design to expand its wastewater management district to include more residences, Mr. Clapp said. Excess capacity at the village's sewage treatment plant should be used by collecting and conveying 9,800 gallons of sanitary wastewater per day from "sewershed L" to the treatment plant. Thirty-three parcels would be added, with a number of cesspools consequently abandoned. The project, which would make the treatment plant operate more efficiently while removing nutrients from the watershed, would have a significant positive impact on Sag Harbor Bay, according to the committee.

Also in Sag Harbor, the Ninevah Beach Property Owners Association should be awarded $53,275 for rain gardens, bioswales, and pervious pavement, where runoff is bypassing existing dry wells and flowing directly into Sag Harbor Bay and Little Northwest Creek. Eligible costs are $143,554, "but we had to pare it back because the budget was running short this year," Mr. Clapp said.

The committee also recommended a $200,000 award to the Montauk Shores condominiums, where a sewage treatment plant is planned to serve the 198 units and ancillary structures, Mr. Clapp told the board. At 43,073 gallons of flow per day, the existing septic systems and cesspools are significantly over capacity, he said, and are leaching either directly to the Atlantic Ocean or Lake Montauk at its south end. He predicted "significant water quality improvement" with the installation of a sewage treatment plant.

The cost of the project is $2.4 million, and the request is for $480,556; however, C.P.F. awards to commercial properties are capped at $200,000. "Treatment now is woefully inadequate," Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said, suggesting that a grant be tied to capping future expansion on the property.

Limiting structures to their present footprint would be an added benefit, Mr. Clapp agreed.

Pending availability of funding, the committee recommended that Cornell Cooperative Extension be awarded $79,225 for a multiphase permeable reactive barrier to intercept groundwater flow reaching Accabonac Harbor at the Springs General Store, where studies indicate very high inputs of nitrogen.

"This is an area of concern for us due to such high levels of nitrogen entering the creek, more than the environment can tolerate," Mr. Van Scoyoc said.

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