The Village of Westhampton Beach contractors broke ground April 23 on the first expansion of a sewer system on the East End in recent memory.
Officials held a ceremony cheering the $17 million project while crews nearby dug the first pit as they prepared to hook up the village downtown and two condominium complexes to a Suffolk County-run treatment facility.
“This essential infrastructure project will eliminate 5,000 pounds of nitrogen each year from our bay, representing a 24% reduction,” Westhampton Beach Mayor Moore told reporters during a news conference, noting that it will also allow for more apartments and dining opportunities in the downtown area.
Once completed, the system will reduce groundwater pollution from septic systems seeping in surrounding waterways. Wastewater will instead be pumped to Suffolk County Sewer District 24’s treatment plant at Frances S. Gabreski Airport, which serves the airport, the Air National Guard base and companies in the Hampton Business District.
“Our environment is our economy,” said New York State Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), who was also on hand for the ceremony. He called the expansion a “game changer.”
The project is partly funded through the real estate tax-supported Community Preservation Fund. It is expected to take about a year to run the two-mile-long pipe up Old Riverhead Road to the sewage plant.
“This day is a long time coming,” said Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman. “Don’t underestimate the amount of work that it took to get to this day.”