Suffolk County is just weeks away from approving an application needed for Northport to obtain roughly $7.5 million for mandated upgrades to its sewer system.
Northport Village is vying over a portion of the $48 million funds with 12 other projects, according to Newsday. The money will cover a large portion of the over $9 million needed to upgrade the sewer system to DEC's mandated Nitrogen emission standards by 2014, a project Village Trustee Henry Tobin said is well underway.
Because the project is shovel ready, said Tobin, Northport Village is a competitive contender for the funds.
"We've begun upgrades such as a dissolved oxygen controller, completed a bidding process for further equipment upgrades and nitrogen reduction tanks, and spent hundreds of thousands in engineering costs," he said.
Hurricane Sandy presented a small bump in the road for the project when it became apparent that the plant needed to be secured against salt water incursion. Additional engineering and construction resulted in about $150,000 in additional costs.
"A salt water surge from flooding in the sewer plant would have killed bacterial culture and would have meant about two weeks of untreated sewage would go into the harbor," he said.
The village has been working closely with Suffolk Legislator William Spencer since his election to secure county assistance for the project in order to avoid excessive cost to the taxpayer.
"[The project] comes close to one year's worth of property tax revenue," said Tobin. "Even spread out over two or three decades, that could increase the cost of sewer operation by 50 to 100 percent. We just don't have a large enough tax base to absorb that cost without hurting businesses and residents."
So far, the village has received two grants from the DEC totaling approximately $1.8 million which will go toward different parts of the project.
The sewer system serves three sewer districts and affects both Northport and Centerport Harbors.