Vote for cleaner water

File photo

Vote for cleaner water


Listen up Great River residents: On Tuesday, Jan. 22, you will be given the unique opportunity to vote for a plan to bring sewers into your neighborhood. And in doing so, you’ll be putting neighboring Oakdale and Sayville on a path to get them as well. Make the wise choice and vote yes.

The Connetquot River Sewer Project is becoming increasingly more important with each passing day, a fact that was documented in a 2015 Comprehensive Water Resources Management Plan. The plan outlined how nitrogen is the primary cause of water pollution that has impacted the quality of local wetlands, seagrass beds as well as the shellfish population in the Great South Bay. The biggest producers of nitrogen are residential septic tanks/cesspools in addition to fertilizer runoff. Fertilizers are another problem that will also need to be dealt with in the future, but right now sewers can begin to stop the tide of bacterial algae that has increasingly plagued our waters. 

Keep in mind that when our wetlands are damaged, our natural barriers are diminished, thus resulting in less protection from flooding. The addition of sewers could help prevent that from occurring. 

It’s also important to understand that this $26.4 million construction project is funded 100 percent by grants. That means the cost of installing sewer lines, electrical work and connecting the plumbing to houses, restoration of property, as well as the abandonment of the current septic systems for 457 homes in the hamlet will not cost homeowners a dime. Once installed, the cost per household for the operation and maintenance of the sewer will be around $660 a year. The annual debt service per household will be $119. That seems a small price to pay for a more efficient waste system that’s a lot more environmentally friendly. Replacing outdated septic tanks/cesspools with more effective sewers will no doubt increase property values as well.

If this project passes, it will provide the impetus for more government money to be funneled into our area for similar projects that will benefit neighboring hamlets to the east, as they’d be next in line for sewer connection. That’s something Oakdale and Sayville have been waiting to get for years.

However, if this project is not approved on Tuesday, the one-time grant funding that’s already in place will be lost. There’s no telling when that opportunity might come again. It has been 40 years since the last major sewer project on the South Shore was completed. Our imperiled Great South Bay and diminished wetlands can’t wait that long for relief.

 A vote for sewers is a vote for cleaner water.