Upgrades to the Northport sewage treatment plant are moving ahead despite uncertainty over Suffolk County funding, say village trustees.
The village recently awarded a $3.362 million contract to W H M Plumbing of East Setauket to complete general contracting for the wastewater phase II sewage treatment plant upgrade.
The upgrade includes housing denitrification, two additions, and pH equipment. Construction is expected to begin in March and to be completed within the DEC’s 2014 deadline.
The contract was delayed because engineering changes needed to be made following Hurricane Sandy. Under the new plans, the facility's floor will be raised an additional two feet above the 100 year flood mark to withstand future storms.
"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," Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin told Patch earlier in the month.
Related: Northport Closer to County Funding for Sewer Upgrades l
"It cost us a month, but probably saved us a lot of money," said Village Administrator Gene Guido. Contracts for a construction manager and electrical contractor have yet to be awarded.
The village has been working closely with Suffolk Legis. William Spencer, D-Huntington, to secure $7.5 million in county assistance for the $9 million project intended to lower nitrogen emissions. High nitrogen levels contribute to toxic algal blooms such as red and brown tide in the surrounding waters, resulting in bathing advisories and beach closures.
Northport Village is reportedly vying over a portion of $48 million in county funds with 12 other infrastructure projects. Even though the village is ready to apply, the county, as of Monday, has not yet finalized an application.
The village and Legislator Spencer remain optimistic on the village's chances of obtaining the money because the project is shovel-ready. However, if the money doesn't come through, the village may have to plow ahead considering other funding options.
"We have the ability to borrow money via the EFC," said Tobin, "but that, of course, has to be paid back with some interest. So, ultimately, the only way we would ever pay for this project would be through taxes; by raising taxes and raising the fees that we charge to the Centerport sewer district and to Harbor Circle."
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