Free sewer hookup for residential homes

Patchogue River Watershed Sewer Project meeting

Shana Braff
Posted 9/29/22

Sewers are a ubiquitous yet subterranean necessity of modern life, which most people rarely—if ever—think about, as these wastewater devices typically flow smoothly, unnoticed, and …

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Free sewer hookup for residential homes

Patchogue River Watershed Sewer Project meeting

Posted

Sewers are a ubiquitous yet subterranean necessity of modern life, which most people rarely—if ever—think about, as these wastewater devices typically flow smoothly, unnoticed, and underground. Perhaps, if playing a word-association game, looking for a pop-culture reference associated with this type of drain or pipe, it would evoke the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” the late-80s mega-successful comic book franchise and animated series. The premise was roughly that four baby turtles were transformed, by sci-fi magic, into humanoid superheroes who would fight crime (and eat pizza) while dwelling in the sewers of New York City.

As it turns out, the new opportunity for sewer hookups available to all residential single-family homes in the Patchogue Village area, will enable participants to fight a real-life evil: environmental toxins and contaminants in the water supply.

Those at the well-attended Patchogue River Watershed Sewer meeting learned more about this new ecologically and budget-friendly option while at the Patchogue Theatre for the Performing Arts on Tuesday, Sept. 20. The informative event was hosted by the Village of Patchogue for those residents of the village whose homes are included in the first phase of the Patchogue River Watershed Sewer Project. At the meeting, representatives of the Village of Patchogue, H2M architects + engineers (the company handling the Patchogue River Sewer Project in tandem with the village) and representatives from Pioneer Asphalt Paving Contractors were all on hand to help explain the project.

The Watershed Sewer Project will use grant funding from the state government to connect 238 homes to the existing village sewer system, including the installation of a grinder pump unit (GPU) on each property. The project will reroute the existing home-drainage line from the on-site sanitary disposal system to the GPU, and then connect the GPU itself to the sewer line in the roadway. Upon the completion of the connections, the village will maintain the GPU. If the pump ever requires repair or maintenance, the village will manage those activities, with no separate cost accrual by the homeowner. This project is being funded through grants obtained by Patchogue Village mayor Paul Pontieri and the Village Board, all who worked to make the project possible at no cost to homeowners.

Pontieri was there to offer a brief introduction before the technical presentation was given by Timothy M. Nordberg, senior project engineer at H2M. Residents were able to sign up on the spot for the project, with many lining up and taking advantage of the opportunity, even before the presentation began, while others waited until reviewing all the information shared during the detailed PowerPoint presentation and subsequent question-and-answer session, where all questions posed were answered, many involving the length of construction time and ensuing cost.

Pontieri is extremely optimistic about the project, while also wishing that there were additional funds to do even more toward the aim of sustainability and progress regarding this issue.

“It’s huge for the bay. The nitrogen that’s extended out into the bay, from the homes that are along the water, is incredible,” said Pontieri, adding, “I’m frustrated because five years ago, we would have been doing five or six homes for the same amount of money. Because over time, between the COVID situation, and just prices went this way, and the numbers of houses went that way, and initially it was 600 homes for $18 million. Now, it’s 238 homes for $22 million. We do with it what we have, and I’ll keep begging for more money.”

Legis. Dominick Thorne, of the 7th Legislative District, spoke briefly.

“You don’t have to be an environmentalist to know there are all sorts of bad things in our water system,” said Thorne while thanking the mayor and his team and pledging his support in the endeavor. “First and foremost, some of this had been started by my predecessor [former longtime Legis. Rob Calarco].”

The former elected official was also in attendance.

“The project started, and it’s going to be [fully completed] within the next 18 months. Our plan is once we know more from the agreements and the clustered areas that we start with, we’d like to be giving a 30-day notice to those areas that it’s coming, and then when we’re there we’ll be knocking on doors,” Nordberg said of the voluntary initiative, which residents have the choice to opt out of at this time.

The project will take four to six weeks per house to be completed, with all work being done on the outside of the house. Once the plan is approved by each homeowner, they are not required to be on premises as the project is coming to fruition.

Many questions from the audience included inquiries about why the homeowner is responsible for paying for the pumping being done from the house to the street, and what the owner could possibly do that would compromise the new system.

“We at the village are responsible, from the pump station on. As the homeowner, you’re only responsible for from the exit of your house into the pump station,” Nordberg responded. He added, “[It’s] because we can’t control what gets flushed down there once it lands in the pump station.”

The onus of what goes down the pipe is on the homeowner, he explained. A “no-no” list of items, such as grease and sanitary wipes, which are not to be put down the drain, will be disseminated to all who participate in the plan, which will incur a flat fee of $650 per year for all single-family homes, regardless of size or number of occupants. The yearly rate may be subject to price increases, as are most things, in the future. “It’s not required. If the $650 doesn’t make this kind of a no-brainer, then it’s up to you.”

For Patchogue Village residents interested in this finding out more information contact sewers@patchoguevillage.org. 

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