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Cost rises to upgrade Calverton sewer plant

The cost of the Calverton Sewer District upgrade is now about $3 million more than it was estimated three years ago, but officials say they have received several grants to cover most of the costs.

Rates for construction materials and equipment have risen since that time, according to sewer district attorney Richard Ehlers, who gave an overview of the project at last Thursday’s Town Board work session. Its estimated price tag is now at $10.56 million.

The sewer plant was built by the Grumman Corporation in the 1950s and uses antiquated technologies from that era, according to Mr. Ehlers.

The treated effluent from the plant is discharged into McKay Lake, which is a headwater of the Peconic River, he said.

The upgrade proposes to move the discharge out of McKay Lake, at the recommendation of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and to instead move it to the northeast portion of the property, where the treated effluent would be discharged onto the ground.

The discharge would be north of the so-called groundwater divide at EPCAL, which is a point at which the groundwater flow changes directions.

The discharge would have to be treated to groundwater standards before it could be discharged into the ground, Mr. Ehlers said.

The current plant is not capable of doing that.

The Town Board plans to hold a public hearing on the project at its March 19 meeting, which starts at 2 p.m.

“This would be reflective of the development that’s happening on the property,” Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith said.

The town in November agreed that Calverton Aviation and Techology was “qualified and eligible” to buy and develop 1,643 acres of land the town owned. This week, CAT asked to extend a 90-day due diligence period on that purchase and will get another 90-day period, for which they will pay another $500,000 into an escrow account.

CAT now has an additional 90 days during which is can decide if it wants to move forward with the purchase.

The town is required to upgrade the sewer district in order to create an eight-lot subdivision, which is needed to sell land to CAT.

The Calverton sewer plant has been difficult to operate because there aren’t many users there, Mr. Ehlers said.

“Sewage is more easily treated in quantity that in dribbles,” he said.

The sewer district is a special taxing district in which only the property owners located within the district will pay into the costs of the plant.

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