Protecting East End water quality and supporting recent growth in Greenport are among the reasons village officials are seeking partial funding for a proposed $1.54 million sewer-expansion project.
Greenport officials are requesting help from Southold Town in funding roughly $750,000 of the proposed sewer expansion in the village. Greenport Mayor George Hubbard and Village Administrator Paul Pallas appeared before the Southold Town Board at a May 4 work session to discuss the project and ask for backing through Community Preservation Funds.
Hubbard said the village went out to bid on the project four months ago for work on its central pump station on the corner of North and Third streets — and it looks to connect Sandy Beach and two marinas to the village’s sewer system.
“The benefits are that we’re trying to get people off of cesspools and putting everything into the low groundwater and getting them onto the sewer system,” Hubbard said. “We have the sewer system, and we’re trying to take advantage of that to help the environment, lower the nitrogen and all the other benefits that go along with that to better the water quality on the East End.”
Village officials have long eyed connecting the beach and the yacht yard at Greenport and Sterling Harbor marinas to the sewer system to reduce nitrogen pollution in waters coming from the three sites. However, the costs of doing so have been a hurdle.
While the funds the village is seeking to access normally are reserved to protect farmland, open space and community character, a state law passed in 2019 allows a portion of preservation dollars to be used for water quality improvement projects.
The project would look to make several upgrades to the station, including the installation of 12-inch pipes and doubling the size of the pumps. The upgrades, Hubbard said, would be able to handle future expansion, should the village move forward with its proposals.
Hubbard said the remaining $795,360 for the project would come from village reserves, made up from sewer hookup fees from other places in Greenport, which have been put aside for the sewer expansion.
If the town approves funding the other portion, the work — expected to be completed over four months — could be finished by the end of the summer, according to Hubbard.
Town board members appeared split on the proposal.
Town Councilwoman Louisa Evans said Fishers Island’s sewer district, and any issues that arise from it, are normally funded by its ratepayers, without any help.
However, Town Councilwoman Sarah Nappa said Greenport’s recent growth warrants the town taking action.
“We are seeing substantial expansion in Greenport and we should do whatever we can to support that,” Nappa said.
Southold Supervisor Scott Russell said in an interview Thursday that the town is evaluating whether the proposed upgrade would be consistent with the legal intent of the Community Preservation Fund.
“We had them come before the Board so they could present their needs and the estimated cost of the project,” Russell said. “Now that we have the specific information, we can evaluate it and decide if it’s a project that has merit to meet the objectives of the Community Preservation fund. We should come to a decision in the near future.”