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Northport sewers

From left, Northport Village Mayor Damon McMullen; Deputy Mayor Tom Kehoe; state sennators Carl Marcellino and John Flanagan; village trustees Mercy Smith and Jerry Maline; and state Assemblyman Andrew Raia outside Northport Village Hall. Photo from Sen. John Flanagan's office

Northport village trustees and state elected officials came together to announce $3 million in state funding has been secured to extend sewer access to the village’s waterfront after a summer of record algal blooms.

New York State senators John Flanagan (R-East Northport) and Carl Marcellino (R-Syosset) visited Northport at the end of September to announce the funding would help pay to extend sewers to 140 homes and two business districts in the Steers Pit and Bluff Point communities.

This Northport project will safeguard our water and expand needed access to an updated sewer system.”

— Carl Marcellino

“It is critical that we make serious financial investments in our aging infrastructure all across Long Island,” Marcellino said. “This Northport project will safeguard our water and expand needed access to an updated sewer system.”

Northport trustee Ian Milligan, commissioner of the village’s wastewater treatment plant, said the $3 million helps cover the remaining $8 million price tag of the project, as the village previously received $5 million through the New York State Clean Water Act. This has allowed village officials to move forward with putting Phase I of the project out to contractors for bids last week.

Milligan said Phase I will consist of sewering Bluff Point Road, Duffy Court and Duffy Road in addition to upgrading the pump station that services the Steer Pits condominiums. He said the village hopes to award the bid to a contractor by the end of October, with work to be started mid-fall if the weather holds.

The second phase of extending access to the village’s wastewater treatment plant will bring sewage mains to the remainder of the Steers Pits community, according to Milligan.

“The houses are very close to the water and what they were left on is gravel, like a bed of gravel, so it drains fairly quickly,” he said. “Our septic systems are draining into the bay in a matter of months, where most systems it takes years to get into the water. It’s definitely contributing to nitrogen and possibly pathogens in the harbor.”

This summer, Northport Harbor suffered a bloom of Dinophysis, a type of algae that releases a powerful neurotoxin that can affect shellfish. Both Northport and Huntington harbors showed a rash of paralytic shellfish poisoning in other marine life from eating shellfish.

“This is the last of the waterfront in the village to be sewered,” Milligan said. “We believe it will make a big difference in the water quality in Northport and Huntington harbors.”

The village board hopes to be able to put out a request for proposals to contractors to bid on Phase II early next year.

“We believe it will make a big difference in the water quality in Northport and
Huntington harbors.”

— Ian Milligan

Northport homeowners in these areas will have to take on some of the burden to connect their houses to the sewer district, according to Milligan. The village has received estimates of approximately $10,000 per house to connect, but the trustee warned the final cost can vary greatly based on individual homeowner’s situations.

Northport village trustees are working with Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) to see if a county program that helps homeowners get funds to install upgraded, modern cesspools can be tapped to help offset costs of connecting to the new sewage mains.

“We haven’t heard an answer yet, but we feel it’s close and we are hopeful,” Milligan said. “No guarantee though.”

A public meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Nov. 1 at the American Legion Hall, located at 7 Woodside Ave., to further discuss details for home and business owners regarding anticipated road closures during upcoming construction and connection costs.

“I believe in the long run that [homeowners] will be better off,” Milligan said. “For certain, the general public will be better off with the benefit of cleaner water.”