State Legislators Fought for Grant after Initial Rejection by the State DEC.
Long Island, NY - July 10, 2018 - Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle today hailed the decision of the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to approve a $1.33 million grant to the Springs School District to install an innovative new wastewater treatment system at the school. The Springs School District included the system as part of its school building renovation plan approved by the voters earlier this year.
Initially, the State DEC rejected the Springs School District application stating “the project needs to be listed in the Priority Waterbody List (PWL) as a source of impairment, have a completed sanitary survey completed by the Department of Health, or be listed in the Suffolk County Subwatersheds Wastewater Plan to be considered a priority”. The DEC said none of the criteria applied and the grant was denied. In fact, Accabonac Harbor is listed in the (1) Suffolk Subwatershed Draft Plan by Suffolk County and (2) as an impaired waterbody on the DEC’s own website, meeting two of the three criteria.
In response, Thiele and LaValle aggressively advocated for the Springs School District project, including a meeting with the State DEC Commissioner. The legislators presented irrefutable documentation that not only was the Springs project eligible for state funds but was a shining example of environmental leadership and stewardship.
The funding for the project comes from the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act approved by the State Legislature in 2017. The protection of Accabonac Harbor has been a decades-long priority for East Hampton Town and the Springs community.
Assemblyman Thiele stated, "The upgrade of the Springs School septic system with a new innovative wastewater treatment system is exactly why the NYS Legislature approved the $2.5 billion Clean Water Infrastructure Act. I was pleased to work with State Senator Ken LaValle and Springs School Superintendent Debra Winter to advocate to the DEC for this critical project. In the end, the winners are Accabonac Harbor's water quality, the school children who will benefit from a modern school, and the Springs taxpayers who will see their costs for this project reduced by $1.33 million in state aid."
Senator LaValle said, “The Clean Water Infrastructure Act funding is critically important to implement measures to upgrade the School District’s septic system to the latest wastewater cleansing technology. The monies will provide a great benefit to the taxpayers, and it will assist in maintaining the pristine waters of Accabonac Harbor and Pussy’s Pond. I commend Assemblyman Thiele and Superintendent Winter for their efforts as we diligently worked to secure the funds. Be assured that we will continue our work to improve water quality across the East End.”