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County Gets Green Light for $3.1M in Northport Sewer Improvements

The Northport Harbor is considered the epicenter of red and brown algae tide.

Northport sewer treatment plant. Photo by Justin Izzo.
Northport sewer treatment plant. Photo by Justin Izzo.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Tuesday that Northport Village received the green light to receive $3.18 million in sewer infrastructure improvements. 

The grant is part of a $28-million package to build affordable housing and upgrade sewage treatment facilities in communities across the county.

If approved by the legislature, Northport will receive the $3.18 million grant and an additional $1.5 million from New York State that has already been approved, to help the village upgrade its sewage treatment plant, replace and relocate a deteriorating main and pump station on the bed of Northport Harbor and line various sewer mains in the village to prevent wastewater from leaking.

The grants will allow the Village to make the appropriate plant upgrades to meet lower nitrogen standards mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The village has until July 2014 to meet the new standard.

According to Legis. William Spencer (D-Centerport), Northport Harbor has been the epicenter of the red and brown algae tide for years due to the extremely high nitrogen levels. The  blooms have been occurring every year with increasing severity. The contamination can cause potentially lethal, paralytic shellfish poisoning in humans who consume the shellfish. 

Northport and Centerport Harbor blooms contribute to the larger problem in the Long Island Sound, which contains one of  the most significant algae bloom threats on the East Coast, he said. Reducing the nitrogen will eventually enable the county to reopen the clam  beds, bathing beaches, which closed in May.

“The $3.1 million dollar  Suffolk County Sewer Infrastructure grant that Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone have arranged, along with their recent success in procuring an additional $1.5 million dollar New York State pass‐through   grant, means that approximately half of the $9.2 million cost of  the upgrade will not have to be borne by village taxpayers,” Henry Tobin, Deputy Mayor of Northport Village, said in a press release.

The last step of the grant process will be to secure legislative approval for authorization to allocate this funding. The resolution to do so  will be laid on the table Thursday at the County's general legislative meeting. It will then go on to likely receive legislative approval at the Oct. 8 general meeting.

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