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Amagansett Drive

Brookhaven Town Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro and Councilwoman Jane Bonner inspect the Sound Beach shoreline stabilization project. Photo from Town of Brookhaven

Sound Beach’s shoreline is now stabilized.

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy changed the typography of much of the North Shore’s beaches and dunes. In Sound Beach, the bluff at Shore Road and Amagansett Drive became severely eroded. With roads and homes at risk, the Town of Brookhaven Highway Department began a four-year, multiphase $1.3 million project in May 2013 to steady it.

“The hardening of our infrastructure leaves us less vulnerable to damage from future storms,” Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro (R) said. “In the long run, the results of this project will save taxpayer dollars due to fewer erosion costs in the area.”

To stabilize the bluff, almost 2,000 cubic yards of clean fill was added and an outfall pipe replaced, which broke during Hurricane Sandy. The work was approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and $233,651 in federal assistance was received to help with the cost of the project.

The work on the bluff and the repair of the pipe were never meant to complete the project, but, according to Losquadro, was just a first phase.

“In the long run, the results of this project will save taxpayer dollars due to fewer erosion costs in the area.”

— Dan Losquadro

“It was just a temporary ‘Band-Aid’ so the bluff wouldn’t erode any further and jeopardize the structural integrity of the drainage pipe,” he said. “Our ultimate goal was to eliminate the outfall over the bluff completely, abandon the drainage pipe and direct all of the water from this stream into a newly constructed recharge basin to the east of Amagansett Drive.”

He said the project offered the town the rare ability to eliminate an outfall pipe, preventing stormwater runoff from flooding the beach and entering the Long Island Sound, while also taking erosion pressure off the face of the bluff.

Once construction of the recharge basin near the intersection of Amagansett Drive and Shore Drive was completed in 2015, the final phase of the project began, which included the abandonment of the pipe and permanent stabilization of the bluff through the installation of a three- to four-ton armoring stone revetment wall, erosion control matting, wood terracing and native plantings. The project also included the installation of a new staircase from Shore Drive.

“As a town, we need to make sure there is reliable access that will be there season after season for our fire department and police in the event of an emergency,” Losquadro said.

This phase was completed with in-house resources and came in under budget.

Although the temporary stabilization of the bluff received funding from FEMA, the storm hardening and total bluff restoration was paid for through town capital funds. The total cost for Phase II — construction of the recharge basin — was $633,333 and for Phase III — storm hardening and bluff restoration — was $450,000.

“Completion of this project on time and under budget after being stalled by [Hurricane] Sandy is a welcome event to the residents of Sound Beach,” Brookhaven Town Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) said. “The bluffs along the North Shore are especially vulnerable to erosion, but the more we can do to stabilize our shoreline, the safer it will be.”

Recharge basin will reduce erosion at Pickwick Beach

Town workers get moving to construct a sump near the intersection of Amagansett and Shore drives. Photo from the highway department

The town highway department started work recently on a stormwater project that could improve water quality in the Long Island Sound and prevent erosion on a troubled bluff that has homes sitting on top of it.

Brookhaven Town officials hope a new recharge basin near the intersection of Amagansett and Shore drives in Sound Beach, once completed, will collect stormwater runoff from surrounding roads and thus reduce the amount discharging onto nearby Pickwick Beach and into the Sound. The decreased flow of runoff onto the beach would relieve pressure on the bluff there, which has dangerously eroded in recent years.

The recharge basin will be located at the town’s parking lot for the beach. In late 2013, the town bought property — which had previously served as an easement — adjacent to its lot for the purpose of constructing the sump. Earlier that year, the town finished the first phase of its stormwater mitigation project in the area, repairing an outfall pipe that broke during Hurricane Sandy and filling in the bluff with more than 2,000 cubic yards of fill to stabilize it and rebuild its slope.

The bluff had already eroded to a degree, but the hurricane created a 40-foot drop-off at the site and residents at the top of the bluff were worried about safety.

Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro said the work on the both bluff and the pipe were not meant to be the end of the project — the end goal was a recharge basin that would take the erosion pressure off the bluff.

“It was just a Band-Aid so the bluff didn’t erode any further,” he said in a phone interview.

Excavation on the sump has already begun, Losquadro said, and he expects the project to take at least another two months — possibly three if the weather does not cooperate.

The sump has other benefits, from both an environmental and a maintenance standpoint.

When water flows through the streets during rainfall, it picks up and carries dirt, bacteria and other pollutants with it. That contaminated water eventually drains into bodies of water like the Sound in some places. The recharge basin will filter the water naturally instead.

“Wherever we can, we don’t want water draining into the Long Island Sound,” Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point) explained when the town was acquiring property for the recharge basin. “We want it to drain into the sump.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, Bonner said the project would save the town money in the long run, as there would be fewer erosion costs in the area.

Losquadro said the basin would also be “much less labor-intensive,” because the highway department will only have to clean it out about once every decade.

It can also hold much more water than a storm drain — the highway superintendent said storm drains can hold a couple of inches of water while the sump can take at least 8 inches, “which is an enormous rainfall.”

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