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The Long Island AdvanceHappy New Year, environment! | The Long Island Advance

Linda Leuzzi

Patchogue Village announced in 2011 its wastewater expansion from 500,000 gallons per daily to 800,000. This was done to promote economic growth and protect the environment.

It was a $10.803,550 job that was completed in time. There were new energy-efficient air aerators, as well as a host of DEC and county officials. Artie Fuccillo was also present. Al Chiuchiolo is another notable local.

Patchogue Village was awarded $7.7 million as a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Water Quality Improvement Grant. This will allow for an increase in the daily capacity to 1.2 Million gallons.

The money to expand will be used to address the environment.

“This application was submitted last June by Marian Russo, who wrote the grant,” said mayor Paul Pontieri of the Dec. 21 announcement. “And the amount is exactly what we asked for.”

Pontieri explained to us that the wastewater treatment plant between Hammond and South streets was planned with modulars mind. In other words, it was designed with room for growth, something Pontieri shared with us at the 2011 upgrading ceremony. There is no need to tear down the streets.

According to the grant, the project will allow additional connections as well as new equalization basins to be added to the treatment plant, with nutrient (nitrogen) removal capabilities to protect the downstream water bodies receiving the treated water—that is, Patchogue River and the Great South Bay.

“Sludge is removed and there’s a process that reduces the nitrates so that it improves the water quality,” Russo explained. “The advantage is the wastewater is treated, and clean water is released in the river. It helps the wildlife and nature.”

“We predicted we would expand one more time, so our NYS DEC permit allows us to increase to 414,000 gallons per day more,” Pontieri added. “H2M Architects & Engineers has planned for it on the site we have. The projected total cost of the project is $11 million.”

Russo explained that the approval required several years of work. The village was first eligible for a planning grant in 2017 for $30,000; Russo explained that the approval took many years. “Once you’ve done your plan, it’s approved by the DEC and Environmental Facilities Corp.; the next step is to get on the State Revolving Fund, used for paying for water-quality improvements,” she said. “We made the application in 2020, so we’re in the 2022 State Revolving Fund.”

There’s more to the project, Pontieri said. 

“Out of the extra 400,000 gallons treated per day, 200,000 will be reserved for the village,” he said. “The rest can be used by the county to support Bayport-Blue Point and East Patchogue to Bellport. The expansion in 2011’s focus was on the environment, but also on economic development, which did what it was supposed to do. This expansion is all about the environment. If communities can protect the environment, the economy of that region will grow.”

Pontieri stated that applications have been received by both Senator Chuck Schumer ($6.6million) and Congressman Lee Zeldin ($5.6million). If they are accepted, the entire expansion would be paid for. 

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