As state storm-recovery grant funding had already been allocated for a sewer project in Oakdale, the Department of Health took its first steps toward the 2024 end goal on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
A plan for sewering the southeastern border of the Connetquot River, otherwise known as the Idle Hour area, is coined Phase 1A as part of a larger project. Phase 1A was presented to the affected Oakdale community. The official public comment period remains open, and Legis. William Lindsay said there are plans to organize a second informational session in December.
According to a timeline, the master plan indicates a public hearing on the matter estimated for spring 2020.
Ken Zegel, an environmental analyst for the Department of Health, said the planning really began in 2016 and noted that the Connetquot River watershed has the highest nitrogen discharge of any stream in Suffolk County.
“It is estimated to be over 1/2 million pounds of nitrogen a year being ‘pumped’ out of the Connetquot River into the Great South Bay,” Zegel said. “That is why this area is our highest priority in the county.”
Zegel said that the county was broken into 191 study areas that are each graded in terms of water quality and necessity for intervention, particularly involving the implementation of sewers. The Connetquot River watershed was ranked No. 1 by this system.
“It was a method of prioritization,” Zegel explained.
There would be no cost to the homeowner for installation, though the homeowner would be responsible for debt service, district charges and electrical charges. The average homeowner would be charged around $850 annually for various maintenances. Lindsay said the acquisition of additional grants would minimize or even compromise the tax, though the referendum for Phase 1A must be passed before additional funds can be secured.
Currently, 87 percent of the project is funded by grants.
Department of Environmental Conservation regional chief Peter Scully ensured that letters were sent to every household within the parameters of Phase 1A to let residents know of the upcoming informational session, as these residents are solely applicable to vote on a poll regarding this phase of the project. He said a feasibility study was conducted by the Town of Islip to sewer south Islip in 2012 into 2013.
After the design and engineering as well as the environmental review and permitting, the project can move onto the next step, a public hearing that would be followed by a special election on the matter. The final, completed design is projected to be submitted by mid-2021, shortly followed by the beginning of construction.
Considering the timeline proceeds as outlined, construction is set to be complete by mid-2024.
Estimated project costs
Private property-related total (grinder pump unit, abandonment of sanitary system): $12,266,221.38
Public property-related total (force main and manholes): $14,243,474.46
Mill and overlay total (curb-to-curb resurfacing): $1,971,578.12
Engineering design: $1,697,789.87
Project cost total: $30,180,000.00
Current grant funding: -$26,400,000.00
Project costs, net of grant funds: $3,780,000.00