Brookhaven back to work at Wading River duck ponds

JOE PINCIARO PHOTO    | Road work in Wading River just to the west of the Duck Ponds.
JOE PINCIARO PHOTO | Road work in Wading River just to the west of the Duck Ponds.

Brookhaven Town has begun a second phase of work on the Duck Ponds in Wading River, installing catch basins and underground piping to reduce the amount of pollutants carried into the ponds by stormwater runoff.

Town contractors dredged the eastern pond in April 2012, using a $170,000 state grant and $170,000 in town money, said Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner. The town also installed a water quality unit to trap road runoff, and prevent it from entering the ponds, she said.

Phase II, which draws on the same $340,000, includes replacing the culvert under North Country Road, installing catch basins along North Country Road to the west of the ponds, and installing a water quality unit to pick up road runoff west of the ponds, Ms. Bonner said.

“Since a significant amount of trash was found to accumulate in the northwestern corner of the pond, we will also be installing a trash guard unit at the pond outfall to prevent trash from traveling further upstream stream and entering into the remaining Wading River system, which eventually empties into to the Long Island Sound,” Ms. Bonner said.

Riverhead Town also had planned to commit $170,000 to the project for drainage and bulkhead repair work but lost the county grant it had hoped to use for the project, according to Supervisor Sean Walter, who said the town hopes to reapply for that funding.

Officials said that while only about 10 percent of the Duck Ponds site is located in Riverhead Town, rainwater from its roads funnels downhill into the pond — ultimately finding its way into Long Island Sound.

The work being done at the Duck Ponds has important ecological value, said Sid Bail, president of the Wading River Civic Association.

The water from the ponds, which lie at the heart of the hamlet’s historic business district, travels under North Country Road though piping that is being replaced, and ends up in Mill Pond, a large pond behind the former Pizza Pie on Sound Road and other stores nearby, he said. That water, in turn, runs into Sound, so pollutants that end up in the Duck Ponds as a result of stormwater runoff could be contributing to Long Island Sound pollution as well, Mr. Bail said.

“Lately, there’s been a bloom of invasive plants in the western Duck Pond that may be the result of the pipe under the road being clogged,” he said. “These are plants that thrive in stagnant water.”

Mr. Bail said he was told by Brookhaven Town officials that the work, which started last week, would be completed by Dec. 20.

“They’re doing a pretty good job of moving the traffic through this area while the work is ongoing,” Mr. Bail added.

[email protected]