A study that began in 2009 continues to work out results as the plan to bring a new sewer system to Deer Park, North Babylon and West Babylon will begin to move into the next phases in coming months. The study aims to eventually bring a new sewage system to the local area that helps reduce harm being done to the environment from septic tanks and cesspools.
A group of legislators, which included local representatives Lou D’Amaro (D–North Babylon, Deer Park), Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) and Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip), announced the approval of a feasibility study in December 2009 to explore the costs and effectiveness a new system would have on the hamlets. Since the announcement, a trio of companies – Tri-Venture of Dvirka & Bartilucci, Gannett Fleming and LiRo – have continued to study the area, compiling data on septic pool and cesspool failures, as well as mapping preliminary layouts of typical sewer sheds in priority areas, made cost estimate templates for sewer size, depth, dewatering, pumping stations, connections and restoration costs.
“When the Southwest Sewer District was constructed back in the 1970’s, most of these communities, particularly those located north of the Southern State Parkway, were not included,” said Legislator D’Amaro in a 2009 release. He noted in a recent interview with Patch that the sewer system in those areas were long overdue for repairs and replacement.
The most recent update for residents of these areas came in a public meeting this past February. The meetings allowed residents to voice their questions and concerns to the legislators and project managers, including detailed information on how sewer installation would affect downtown revitalization, housing and economic development as well as ground and surface water.
The study area is comprised of nearly 15 square miles and contains a population of approximately 100,000. Should the project ultimately move forward, the Bergen Point wastewater facility will have to process an additional 12 to 15 million gallons of wastewater flow per day, according to study experts. The Suffolk County Department of Public Works officials noted that Bergen Point is presently being expanded to a capacity of 40 million gallons so it will be able to accommodate the added wastewater flow associated with this project.
Boris Rukovets, P.E., the Suffolk County Department of Public Works Special Project Supervisor, said he thinks the project would be a win-win for both the County and local residents.
“The expansion of the sanitary sewer infrastructure could help current property owners with chronic on-site system problems resulting in frequent pump outs,” he said. “The sewer district expansion will improve area groundwater and surface water quality, and support economic development and revitalization of the area.”
“Damage being done to the environment there is severe,” D’Amaro said, noting the high costs of replacing home sewage systems. “We needed to study if it was economic feasible for us to move forward.”
The group is expected to present new findings in a public meeting this July and Leg. D’Amato said the lawmakers would not move forward on any plan until public hearings are held.