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Hotel Indigo switching to town sewer district, a win for water quality

Hotel Indigo is on the verge of hooking into the Riverhead Town Sewer District, a plan roughly 10 years in the making that should improve water quality in town.

The project is likely to receive Planning Board approval following a public hearing next month.

“This is the last step in the process to get a pump station to connect this property to the Riverhead Sewer District,” town planning director Jeff Murphree said at a recent Planning Board meeting. 

“This is basically a win-win for everybody.”

Ed Densieski

By connecting to the West Main Street property to the Riverhead Sewer District, the effluent would be pumped back to Riverhead’s sewage treatment plant, where it would be treated and eventually discharged into the Peconic River.  Currently, Hotel Indigo uses traditional septic rings or cesspools, which were constructed years ago and leach into the ground. 

Once the connection to the town sewer district is complete, the septic systems will be abandoned, according to the application. 

One added benefit of the hotel’s plan is that it will also enable part of Tanger Outlets to connect to the town’s sewer district, according to sewer district superintendent Michael Reichel. 

Hotel Indigo needed to connect to the town’s sewer main, but it was landlocked, he said. 

Howard Hogan, the owner of the land that Tanger 1 (the westernmost complex) sits on, agreed to grant an easement to Hotel Indigo allowing them to cross his property and connect to the sewer main, according to Mr. Reichel. 

The stores in Tanger I were also not connected to the sewer district, Mr. Reichel said in an interview. 

“As the sewer was being run, we connected to the cesspools that were in service and took them out of service, and then we connected those stores to the sewer district,” Mr. Reichel said. 

“This way, it goes to treatment instead of the ground,” he said. 

Because the sewer main didn’t go past all of the Tanger 1 buildings, some of the stores were not connected to the district and remain on cesspools.

Mr. Reichel estimates that about 70% of the stores in Tanger 1 are connected to the sewer district now. 

This work was done in 2019, he said. 

Tanger 2 and 3, which are on land owned by Tanger Outlets, have always been connected to the sewer district, Mr. Reichel said. 

The pumping station is needed to pump the effluent uphill to the sewer main, Mr. Reichel said, as the system is gravity-based. 

Mr. Reichel said that getting Hotel Indigo and most of Tanger off of septic systems “will keep 40,000 gallons (per day) of flow from going into the groundwater.”

“This is basically a win-win for everybody,” Riverhead Planning Board member Ed Densieski said. “Get those septic systems into the sewer district.”

Hotel Indigo had previously submitted a site plan to expand the building, but has backed off those plans in light of the current economy, said architect Martin Sendlewski.

The Planning Board is scheduled to have a public hearing on the pump station proposal at its Sept. 3 meeting, which starts at 7 p.m.