State amends agreement with Northport Village Corp. over wastewater discharge
Northport — The state amended a consent agreement with the Northport Village Corp. after upgrades were made to the existing wastewater treatment facility to address past violations.
According to a Department of Environmental Protection report, the 2003 agreement was amended because the town had taken steps to fix the violations.
The original agreement required the town to submit semi-annual progress reports regarding efforts to secure funding for the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility; design a new wastewater facility; secure approval from residents to finance the new facility; submit design documents to the DEP for review and approval; award bids for the construction of the facility; and to complete construction on the new wastewater facility.
Since signing the consent agreement, Northport Village Corp. has taken steps to repair the existing facility, but provides only primary treatment for the wastewater, the report states. The Northport Village Corp. had also complied with submitting all required progress reports, but had yet to secure the necessary funding for a new wastewater treatment facility.
Utilities Superintendent Richard McElhaney was able to correct errors in the flow measurements, as well as institute measures to reduce violations. In addition, the town was able to modify its discharge license. The change allowed for up to 63,000 gallons to be discharged daily, up from the 10,000 gallons a day previously allowed.
The primary issues associated with the wastewater treatment facility that resulted in the DEP's seeking the 2003 consent agreement were related to the facility's discharging wastewater in excess of its licensed limits, and with fresh water infiltrating the system.
McElhaney said a number of upgrades to the wastewater facility were completed over the course of several years to bring the facility into compliance with the DEP's requirements.
Those upgrades included extending the outflow pipe to 600 feet into the bay and fixing leaking pipes in several areas. He said repairs were also made to the two septic tanks that developed leaks, which allowed them to be brought back into use.
The 2003 consent agreement required the Northport Village Corp. to raise funds to construct a secondary wastewater treatment facility. According to a 2012 town report, that facility could have cost $6 million to build. McElhaney said the upgrades to the existing facility allow for treatment sufficient to make the secondary facility not necessary.
Most of the funding to complete the upgrades was provided through a federal grant and a small loan, McElhaney said.
"We were very fortunate to get the grant," McElhaney said. "Pretty much all of the issues have been addressed."
Republican Journal reporter Ben Holbrook can be reached at 338-3333 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.