Patchogue’s $12.5 Million Sewer Expansion Will Cost Village Residents Nothing

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Patchogue is planning a $12.5 million expansion to its sewage treatment plant to help village residents stop using environmentally harmful cesspools and spur downtown development, said officials last week.

Mayor Paul Pontieri said the nearly 100-year-old Hammond Street plant – which has been upgraded several times over the years – will be expanded by 50% from a daily capacity of 800,000 gallons to 1.2 million gallons. Construction is expected to begin later this year and should be completed in 12 to 18 months, he said.

Pontieri said the expansion will allow homeowners, especially those of older homes in Great South Bay, to hook up to the sewage system. Untreated sewage from cesspools has been blamed for problems in the bay and nearby waterways, such as brown tide and algal blooms that can be harmful to humans and the growth of mollusc stems and shellfish.

“South Patchogue, these are 80 to 100 year old houses, they have sumps,” Pontieri said. “Not that they’re pumping raw sewage down the streets [but] … it’s a mess.”

Additional capacity will also help add restaurants to the downtown business district, the mayor said.

“There will be other projects that will come up, and now we have the ability to say ‘yes’ [to them]said Pontieri.

Construction will be funded almost entirely by state and federal grants, including $7.7 million from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and $3.5 million from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. environment, Pontieri said. The remaining $1.3 million is expected to come from excess village reserve funds, he added.

“There will be no cost for tax rolls for any of this,” Pontieri said.

Patchogue and Long Island officials have previously said the sewage treatment plant has been key to revitalizing the village over the past decade. Once a moribund village with vacant storefronts on the main street, Patchogue has become a model for downtown redevelopment with trendy boutiques, bistros and apartments.

David Kennedy, executive director of the Greater Patchogue Chamber of Commerce, said the increased sewer capacity will help pockets east and west of the city center that continue to struggle.

The village plans to celebrate the opening of nine new businesses this month, some of which will replace stores that closed during the coronavirus pandemic, Kennedy said.

“Patchogue has obviously turned into a very healthy restaurant community, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the sewage plant,” he said. “This expansion allows this trend to continue and allows [the village] to continue adding more businesses to our community.

Pontieri predicted that the plant expansion will allow Patchogue to offer use of the sewer system to nearby communities, such as the Village of Bellport. He said Patchogue could make 200,000 gallons daily available.

Bellport Mayor Raymond Fell said he was in favor of such a plan, but many villagers rejected the idea when it was proposed about a decade ago because it could cost thousands dollars to Bellport owners to connect to Patchogue’s system.

“That was the big objection was the cost,” Fell said. “It was expensive, no doubt.”

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