Riverhead Town has secured additional funding to cover the cost of redirecting sewers from Peconic Bay waters at the Enterprise Park at Calverton thanks to $476,000 in grant funding from the state’s Water Quality Improvement Program.
On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the award, intended to help reduce pollution and restore habitats in the Peconic Estuary, according to a press release.
“Improving and protecting the state’s abundant water resources is vital to the quality of life for all New Yorkers,” Governor Cuomo said.
The estimated $7 million project will be the first phase of sewer upgrades. Town officials have said it could cost over $23 million to do all the sewer work that needs to be done on site, according to prior News-Review coverage.
Riverhead has also secured $5 million out of New York State’s $137.9 billion 2014-15 budget and about $1.3 million late last year from the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council.
“We pretty much have the entire project cost covered,” community development director Chris Kempner said of the award. “We are very grateful to the state for its support of these projects.
“The upgrade will immediately improve the surface waters of the Peconic Estuary.”
The upgrade includes the construction of a new waste disposal site for groundwater discharge north of the EPCAL site that is currently routed to go directly into the estuary, according to the Peconic Estuary Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan.
Riverhead sewer district officials are currently in the design phase and are getting ready to seek bids on the project, she said.
In March, state Sen. Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson), who helped to secure the state budget funding, said the update is a priority as the area offers great potential for economic growth.
“Development at EPCAL will benefit the entire eastern end of Brookhaven and eastern Long Island,” he said. “When we start putting ratables there, that will help stabilize real property taxes.”