Wyandanch, NY – Suffolk County Legislator Jason Richberg recently joined Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone and a number of other state and county officials on Earth Day for a historic announcement advancing water quality in our region.
County Executive Bellone announced that $100 million in funding has been made available to eliminate outdated cesspools and septic systems identified by scientists as the primary source of excess nitrogen in our bays. This excess nitrogen leads to harmful algae blooms and beach closures, and affects our drinking water. The funding comes from a combination of federal, state and county sources and will enable two long-awaited sewer projects along the south shore river corridor, the Carlls River and Forge River Watershed Projects, to move forward.
“I am proud to stand alongside County Executive Bellone and my colleagues to announce this historic investment in our sewers,” said Legislator Richberg. “This has been a long time coming. Sewers have been a hot topic in my family for my entire life. When my grandfather moved out to Suffolk County in 1960 the conversation at that time was, ‘Sewers are coming’, and over 60 years later many communities are still waiting. I’m happy to tell those residents that the wait is almost over. This is an important investment in our future that will help keep our county’s water quality and overall environment healthy and thriving for years to come.”
The Carlls River Watershed project will address storm impacts, reduce nitrogen and pathogen pollution in the Carlls River and Great South Bay, and sewer areas in the communities of Deer Park, North Babylon, West Babylon, Wyandanch and West Islip. More than 60 percent of the nitrogen load from the Carlls River is caused by outdated septic systems. The proposed project will connect homes within the Southwest Sewer District, and expand the sewer district to include a number of homes in the North Babylon and West Babylon areas.
“With the help and support of our colleagues in state government, the business and environmental communities, and our friends in the building trades and organized labor, Suffolk County has made more progress over the past five years than had been made in the prior four decades in efforts to address the lack of wastewater infrastructure that has harmed water quality and been a drag on our economy,” said County Executive Bellone. “This new investment will allow us to take significant next steps in implementing a long term plan to improve water quality.”
Also announced was $30 million in funding for the county’s septic improvement program, which provides grants to homeowners to replace their aging systems.
“I would like to thank Suffolk County Legislators Richberg, Donnelly, McCaffrey and Berland for their steadfast leadership in securing the funding for this extremely important infrastructure improvement,” said Town of Babylon Supervisor Rich Schaffer. “The collaboration between lawmakers and the town’s Department of Environmental Control has made this project possible.”
“I am elated that County Executive Steve Bellone has been able to secure the funding that will enable the Carlls River Sewer Expansion Project to move forward,” said Legislator Tom Donnelly. “It is critically-important that we continue to make sewering homes in the economically-vulnerable Babylon Carlls River Watershed area a top priority, and I remain committed to advocating for bringing sewers to as many homes as possible in the priority areas.”
"Since 1959, the constituents of the Belmont Lake Civic Association have needed sewers instead of cesspools,” said Belmont Lake Civic Association President Denise Leary. “As part of the Carlls River project we voted ‘Yes’ on the 2019 referendum. This demonstrates our readiness for Suffolk County's construction to begin here."