A ceremonial “first flush” Friday marked the completion of a $16 million project linking new sewers in downtown Village of Westhampton Beach with a Suffolk County wastewater treatment plant at Frances S. Gabreski Airport.
The project — which will help spur growth in the village’s commercial district and reduce pollution entering surrounding waterways — saved the village an estimated $7.4 million by linking to an existing nearby sewage plant instead of building its own facility from scratch.
“The connection of this business district to a modern wastewater treatment plant is a win-win,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “This is a perfect example of how local governments can work cooperatively to share services and save taxpayer dollars.”
The project is part of a countywide and statewide initiative that also aims to replace aging nitrogen-leaching cesspools used in three quarters of the county that studies have shown are a leading cause of excess algae blooms that cause brown tides, beach closures and fish kills, collapsing local fisheries and depressing property values. A Stony Brook University study found that the new sewer lines could reduce the nitrogen content into the bay by 5,000 pounds a year — a 24% decrease.
New York State contributed $6.8 million to the project, the Town of Southampton chipped in $4 million from its Community Preservation Fund and the county also helped pay for the project. The village paid a $1.8 million connection fee that helped the county pay for increasing the plant’s capacity by 50%. The news came less than two years after the village held a groundbreaking ceremony at the start of the project.
“People are already showing confidence in the community by building and renovating their existing infrastructure,” said Village of Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore. “With a new boutique hotel taking over an old bank building and expanded dining experiences, it has greatly enhanced the aesthetic appeal of the area making it more attractive to residents, businesses and visitors.”
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