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For Release: Friday, April 23, 2021

New York State and Westhampton Beach Announces Start of Construction for Village Sewer Initiative

Main Street Infrastructure Project will Help Reduce Nitrogen and Improve Region's Water Quality

The village of Westhampton Beach, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) today announced the beginning of construction for a new sewer project that will help improve the region's water quality and environment and protect public health. The announcement was made during New York State's week-long celebration of Earth Week 2021.

The Village of Westhampton Beach is constructing sanitary collection and conveyance infrastructure within the Main Street business district and will connect the infrastructure to the existing Suffolk County Sewer District at Gabreski Airport for treatment.

Village of Westhampton Mayor Maria Moore said, "After six years of planning, engineering, and negotiating, the Village of Westhampton Beach is ready to begin construction of its sewer project today, bringing us one step closer to improving the quality of our waterways and protecting the environment. As a result of working collaboratively with Suffolk County, the Village will be able to connect its collection and conveyance system to the County's wastewater treatment plant located at Frances S. Gabreski Airport, furthering the State's goal of shared services. The Board of Trustees has worked as a team to make this shared vision a reality, and we would not be here today without the support and funding for the project that we have received from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation and the Southampton Town Community Preservation Fund."

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "New York State is making significant investments and undertaking innovative projects to restore Long Island's waters and reduce nitrogen pollution as part of our comprehensive Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan partnership. The village of Westhampton Beach's new sewer project is a significant step in the state's island-wide and multi-year efforts and when complete, the project announced today will help to reduce algal blooms, fish kills, and degraded wetlands and marine habitats on Long Island for years to come."

President and CEO of EFC Joseph Rabito said, "EFC provides grants and low-cost financing to local governments statewide to assist them in improving water quality and protecting public health in their communities. We are pleased that a $30,000 planning grant awarded to Westhampton Beach in 2017 resulted in their eligibility for up to $1.78 million in Water Infrastructure Improvement Act grants to begin work on this important project."

New York State contributed $6.8 million to support the project's implementation, including $5 million from DEC's Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) program; up to $1.78 million from EFC's Water Infrastructure Improvement Act (WIIA) grant for sewer system improvements; and $30,000 from EFC and DEC's Engineering and Planning grant to assist with the project's engineering designs.

Among the many actions and investments the State has taken to help reduce nitrogen in area waterways, Governor Cuomo launched a comprehensive $75 million program to improve water quality through the targeted replacement of aging septic systems in communities across New York (leaves DEC's website). This grant program was created to give homeowners and small businesses an incentive to replace and upgrade aging septic systems and is funded through the $4 billion made available for water quality protection across New York through the Clean Water Infrastructure Act, and $1.5 billion in subsequent budgets.

Along with key local partners, DEC leads the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan (LINAP), initiated by Governor Cuomo in 2015. More than 30 active LINAP initiatives and programs are currently underway and nitrogen reduction actions range from bioextraction, septic replacement, countywide watershed planning, and sewering projects. To date, more than $873 million has been spent on 200 projects in Suffolk and Nassau counties, not including a number of large-scale projects in southern Long Island. To learn more about LINAP, visit the DEC website.

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