Centerport, NY - September 10, 2013 - Suffolk County Legislator William R. Spencer (D-Huntington) stood today with County Executive Steve Bellone and many of the individuals who have worked tirelessly for the past several years to find solutions to the water quality problems that plague Huntington’s Harbor Complex; specifically Centerport and Northport Harbors. The group proudly announced the unanimous approval of Northport Village’s application for Sewer Infrastructure funding to upgrade its sewage treatment facility. The additional $3.184 million dollars in grant funding, plus the $1.5 million grant already secured from New York State, for a total of almost $4.7 million dollars, will substantially assist Northport Village in moving forward with upgrading its STP and relating infrastructure. This is a big win for the environment, the economy and the taxpayers!
“The Northport Harbor water quality issue has been a priority of mine since the beginning of my term,” stated Legislator Spencer. “I made a promise to my constituents in January, 2012 that I would work to clean up our waterways. The Northport STP is in desperate need of improvement and securing this funding is a huge step in fulfilling that promise. It would not have been possible without the cooperation and hard work of a lot of dedicated people. Securing this money was truly a team effort. I would like to thank Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, our NYS representatives, Huntington Town Supervisor Frank Petrone and Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment for their steady leadership and support of this project. Finally, Northport Mayor George Doll, Deputy Mayor, Henry Tobin and Village Trustees, Tom Kehoe, Jerry Maline and Damon McMullen deserve a round of applause for their tireless work planning, lobbying, and plodding through red tape with me.”
“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,” stated Henry Tobin, Deputy Mayor of Northport Village. “This is a boon to us and we owe Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone a debt of gratitude.”
“There is no higher responsibility than protecting the health and safety of the public. Upgrading this STP will help us to rid our harbors of the toxic Red Tide epidemic that has plagued these waterways for years. A giant thanks to Legislator Spencer and County Executive Bellone for making this a priority,” said Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
For years, Northport Harbor has been the epicenter of the red and brown algae tide due to the extremely high nitrogen levels which the STP is partially responsible for. These blooms have been occurring every year with increasing severity and continue to contaminate our shellfish. This 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. This problem is dangerous and far reaching. It impacts swimmers, boaters, fisherman and residents who live on or near the water. Reducing the nitrogen will eventually enable us to reopen the clam beds, bathing beaches and protect public health. This is not only a great victory for our environment but it goes further. It is a great victory for the tax payers of Northport and East Northport as they will be protected from the substantial increases in sewer costs that would result in larger tax burdens. It will help small businesses, especially those near the water, to keep their doors open and jobs filled.
The project is underway. Our bay men, residents, taxpayers and local businesses can breathe a sigh of relief that they will not have to endure a crippling tax increase to upgrade the facility but there is much work to do. Legislator Spencer will continue to work with all stake holders to help Northport weather this storm for the benefit of all Suffolk residents, especially those who live near and enjoy the Long Island Sound. The total grant funding of $4.684 will cover almost half of the projects projected costs. The last step will be to secure legislative approval for authorization to allocate this funding. The resolution to do so will be laid on the table at the September 12th General Legislative meeting and hopefully will receive legislative approval at the October 8th General Meeting. Residents are encouraged to call Legislator Spencer’s office to obtain information about how they can best express their support for this project and the resolution before the Suffolk County Legislature. Our number is (631)854-4500.