Suffolk County funds Pine Barrens well-drilling within Manorville Fire District

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12/22/2012 5:00 PM |

PAUL SQUIRE FILE PHOTO | A firefighter drags a hose during the April wildfires in Riverhead Town.

The Suffolk County Legislature has approved a resolution to appropriate  $25,000 to drill fire suppression wells in the Long Island Pine Barrens.

County official Bill Faulk said this week that the project, sponsored by former legislator Ed Romaine after the April wildfires that claimed more than 1,000 acres of Pine Barrens, involves well-drilling in 10 areas located in the Manorville Fire District.

Mr. Faulk, who was Mr. Romaine’s legislative aide until Mr. Romaine was elected Brookhaven Town supervisor last month, said although the Legislature passed a bill in June directing the county to install the wells, the resolution failed to include how the project would be funded.

After re-examining the county budget, Mr. Faulk — who is still serving constituents in the 1st Legislative District until a special election in January — said it became clear monies slated for stalled capital projects could be used to pay for installing the wells next year.

The funding proposals were approved at a regular legislative meeting last month.

“We really pushed for this, especially since people’s home insurance was dropped because there isn’t any public water there,” he said.

Mr. Faulk said the county’s well-drilling unit is expected to drill wells on county land capable of producing 400 gallons of water per minute later this spring.

The Wildfire of 2012 stretched from the Brookhaven National Lab property to Calverton and destroyed over a dozen homes and structures, mostly in Manorville.

jennifer@timesreview.com