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Just the facts: Interns track town data

JULIE LANE PHOTO Interns mapping septic systems this summer are (left) James Read and Wyatt Brigham.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Interns mapping septic systems this summer are (left) James Read and Wyatt Brigham.

Last year’s single town intern, Kiera Nissen laid the groundwork for intern Nicole Oliveri while former intern Henry Read provided the initial efforts for Wyatt Brigham and James Read to continue mapping septic systems on the Island this summer under the direction of Town Engineer John Cronin.

Mr.  Brigham and James Read continued to build on Henry Read’s work, both mapping septic systems and recording if they had necessary permits. It was Henry Read’s work that helped move other municipalities and, perhaps, even Suffolk County, to consider the impace of septic systems on water quality, according to Mr. Cronin.

Ms. Oliveri, rounding out the trio, has taken on a similar process gathering information on irrigation systems, building on Ms. Nissen’s work last summer.

Mr. Brigham, 21, is a 2013 Shelter Island High School graduate who studies mechanical engineering at Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York. He recently interviewed with the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in Charleston, South Carolina.

Mr. Brigham is optimistic that his experience on the Island this summer will help make him competitive for future jobs and that the data he and Mr. Read collected will be useful for the town.

“I’ve had a wonderful time,” he said about his summer here. “John is a wonderful boss and mentor,” he said about Mr. Cronin, noting that the learning experience has been “excellent.”

JULIE LANE PHOTO Summer intern Nicole Oliveri has been working on tracking irrigation systems and other projects this summer.

JULIE LANE PHOTO Summer intern Nicole Oliveri has been working on tracking irrigation systems and other projects this summer.

Similarly, Mr. Read, 22, and a student at James Madison University in Virginia, said it has been satisfying to him to be able to give back to the place where he grew up. He’s the son of Police Chief Jim Read.

While most students get summer jobs working for pool maintenance or landscaping companies, he has appreciated the opportunity to use his academic interests in a practical way.

Ms. Oliveri, 21, is a Manhattan College mechanical engineering student who, after visiting a relative in Greenport, learned of the opportunity to work here for the summer.

While her future likely lies in automotive engineering, she hopes the information she compiled on irrigation will prove useful to the town as it contemplates ways to conserve water. She came to the East Coast for college after growing up in Las Vegas.

“I hope they start listening to the engineer,” she said about board members heeding Mr. Cronin’s advice about infrastructure issues.

Other projects the three interns worked on included:
• Identifying stormwater runoff systems to determine if they were working effectively
• Conducting preliminary wave studies on Coecles Harbor to aid efforts the town and Peconic Land Trust are making to protect Reel Point and bulkheads at Taylor’s Island
• Assisting with work for the installation of a new septic system at the American Legion Hall
• Identifying other sources of nitrogen besides aged septic systems that affect water quality
• Compiling an audit of town infrastructure to determine where repairs are needed

While all of the interns’ projects contribute to the town’s knowledge and will be useful in planning, the one that received immediate attention from Town Board members was the infrastructure project, or “asset list,” which prompted a discussion of the need to get some grant-funded projects started.

The town will eventually receive 100 percent reimbursement on many projects, it must first lay out money to accomplish the work and the wait for funds that could take two or three years to cash.

The board has been discussing taking a loan to begin some of those projects, which will be part of the 2017 budget discussions that begin shortly.

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