Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the start of construction on the $ 408.8 million Suffolk County Coastal Resilience Initiative, which includes upgrades to wastewater delivery and treatment as well as that sewer connections for more than 4,000 homes in the city of Babylon, with connections for an additional 1,700 homes in Mastic-Shirley are expected to begin later this year. This innovative project leverages federal and state resources with local funding to prevent nitrogen and other contaminants from polluting Long Island’s coastal waters. Other environmental benefits of this critical project include improving water quality, restoring ecosystems and strengthening natural coastal barriers to protect communities from future floods and severe storms fueled by climate change.
âAs we celebrate the anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, we reflect on how this storm revealed New York’s need to be resilient in the face of Mother Nature,â Governor Hochul said. âThe Coastal Resiliency Initiative is a comprehensive series of projects that will go a long way to improving the resilience of thousands of homes in Suffolk County that currently rely on septic systems. With construction underway, New York City continues to build on our goals of tackling the impacts of climate change and ensuring communities have the modern infrastructure they need to withstand extreme weather conditions. “
Thousands of homes in the Carlls River and Forge River watersheds have no sewers and manage wastewater through on-site systems like septic tanks and sumps. Obsolete septic tanks and sumps are prone to capacity outages, as residents often have to limit household chores such as dishes and laundry. Sewage systems also cause ecological damage to waterways, as untreated sewage can flood watersheds with nitrogen and other harmful pollutants, and lead to degradation of the coastal ecosystem. A 2014 report published by DEC detailed the adverse effects of nitrogen pollution on the region’s natural coastal defenses and served as a catalyst to advance funding for this project.
The announcement also comes on the ninth anniversary of Super Storm Sandy, which inundated about half of the area’s existing sanitation systems with floodwater. To improve coastal resilience in the face of rising sea levels and more intense storms fueled by climate change, reducing nitrogen and pollutants in watersheds will help rebuild the natural coastal wetlands that serve as storm surge and flood barriers along the South Shore.
The Carlls River project is expected to be completed in 2024, with Forge River to follow in 2026.
Through the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSES) and the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), these projects leverage $ 243.5 million in funding from the Federal Emergency Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) Management Agency (FEMA) and $ 66.4 million Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funding from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
In addition to starting construction in Babylon and Brookhaven, DEC is providing the village of Patchogue with $ 21 million to connect 248 additional homes to sewage systems to reduce the flow of harmful nitrogen and other contaminants from sumps and septic tanks in vital water. sources such as aquifers, coastal bays, lakes and waterways on Long Island.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said: âImproving coastal resilience to climate change requires all stakeholders to be on deck, and we are proud to work with Governor Hochul, County of Suffolk, and our partners in the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management and of the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery to make projects like this a reality. DEC’s water quality and coastal experts continue to work directly with Long Island communities to fund and advance critical projects that protect our waters and reduce nitrogen pollution, and the groundbreaking of ‘today is a crucial step in these efforts. million DEC investments to help Patchogue village connect approximately 248 homes to sewers is just another example of Governor Hochul’s commitment to helping Long Island communities protect our waters for future generations of New Yorker. ”
New York State Division of Homeland Security Executive Deputy Commissioner Terence J. O’Leary said: âAs extreme weather continues to impact the lives of New Yorkers, projects like this will provide a huge benefit in re-establishing natural coastal barriers that will ultimately mitigate storm surges. and flooding caused by damage to personal property and critical infrastructure. I am proud of the division’s dedicated efforts of the disaster recovery team and working with Suffolk County and other state agencies to make this project a reality ”
Deputy Executive Director of NY Rising Community Reconstruction and Infrastructure Programs in the Storm Recovery Governor’s Office Eileen MÃ©us said: âIn addition to ecological benefits and quality of life, reducing nitrogen in Suffolk County’s waterways will rebuild stronger wetlands, providing a natural coastal barrier against storm surges and flooding. We are delighted to join Governor Hochul and the Bellona County Executive in celebrating this critical milestone. ”
Senator Chuck Schumer said: âThe lack of modern wastewater treatment infrastructure in Suffolk County results in extensive nitrogen pollution in our waterways, degrades our coastal defenses, threatens public health and stifles sustainable economic growth. I am proud to have fought tooth and nail to deliver a whopping $ 300 – over one million federal investments for this vital resilience project, and to have urged FEMA and OMB earlier this year to approve quickly unlocking funds for these contracts The County Manager of Bellona is wisely allocating an additional $ 46 million in US bailout funding that I have secured for Suffolk County to fill funding gaps and make advance this initiative. This project will create hundreds of well-paying construction jobs, clean up our environment, improve resilience efforts and enable the largest expansion of Suffolk County sewers in four decades, improving Suffolk County and the quality of life for its residents for decades to come.
Representative Lee Zeldin said: âCOVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our way of life, and it was absolutely essential that we save local infrastructure projects that have experienced unexpected delays due to the pandemic. The Forge River and Carlls River Sewer Projects are critical to our quality of life in Suffolk County, and I am honored to have worked across the aisle with House and Senate leaders , as well as the White House, in December to get an extension of the funding deadline, save these projects and make sure they cross the finish line. The fact that this announcement comes on the ninth anniversary of Super Storm Sandy and all the devastation it caused only serves as a reminder of how important these projects are to the safety of our communities. ”
Representative Andrew Garbarino said: âSuffolk County has been in need of this sewer extension for a long time. Sewers are the backbone of the revitalization of our community. There is a lot more to do, but I’m proud to see the investment in Suffolk County ensuring it receives the wastewater treatment and sewer system upgrades it needs. “
County Executive Steve Bellone said: âOn the ninth anniversary of Storm Sandy, we are taking a big step forward in our efforts to make Long Island more resilient to climate change. Thanks to the strong support we have received from Senator Chuck Schumer and our partners in the New York State Government, we have taken a significant step forward as we bring these historic projects to the point of construction. Simply calling these projects a win-win does not adequately describe the scale of the benefits they will bring to our region. Injecting $ 400 million into the regional economy will help boost our economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. Not only that, but this project will eliminate nearly 6,000 of the cesspools and septic tanks that scientists say are killing our bays and harbors. This is a tremendous victory for our economy and our environment. ”