Results of a study that may bring a new sewer system to the Deer Park, North Babylon, West Islip, Wheatley Heights and Wyandanch communities are starting to come in.
Currently, about 70 percent of Suffolk County relies on cesspools. The Southwest Sewer District, located in West Babylon, was created in the 1970s, but marred by a corruption scandal, delays and heavy costs, most of the County did not join the sewer system.
Now, a group of legislators, including Lou D’Amaro (D–North Babylon, Deer Park), Wayne Horsley (D-Babylon) and Thomas Barraga (R-West Islip), are looking at the project again 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.
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.
In early July, engineers are expected to present to the county a draft feasibility study, including design options and cost.
While legislators say that a sanitary sewer infrastructure could help current property owners with chronic on-site system problems and improve area groundwater and surface water quality, the costs of replacing cesspools could be severe. Unlike in the 1970s, when federal and state governments paid for nearly all sewer costs, the financial burden will now fall mostly on the County. Also, if expansion in approves, it could take an additional several years before the expansion is shovel ready.
What do you think of the possible sewer expansion? Are you happy with using a cesspool system? Would the benefits of a sewer system outweigh its costs?