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Church seeks town’s help with water issues

Representatives from Shelter Island Presbyterian Church, struggling to deal with a solution to the drinking water problems in their building, appealed to the Town Board at Tuesday’s work session for help in dealing with the Suffolk County Department of Health Services.

A serious level of nitrogen in the drinking water that was detected in December has worsened. Church members who thought they had a solution are faced with a cost of more than $11,000 for installation of a system to handle the problem.

But that became more complicated with the Health Department’s requirement that a holding tank for waste water be installed that would have to be emptied regularly.

Because the town’s nutrition program operates out of the church, the Health Department has determined it’s a public water site.

Church representatives are hoping Town Engineer John Cronin can plead their case to get an exemption from installation of the holding tank, which poses problems since it would have to be placed at least 200 feet from the adjacent church cemetery.

Dan Binder, who has been leading the effort on behalf of the church, said each time the tank needed to be emptied, there would be a $600 charge, but no one currently knows how often that might be without more data to get an estimate.

“The show stopper is pumping” the tank, church member Ken Pysher said.
Mr. Cronin is expected to meet with Supervisor Gary Gerth and church representatives this week to determine the best approach to the problems.

Neighbors living near the Center Firehouse brought complaints to the board Tuesday about a new emergency communications tower that has been erected behind the building.

Joe and Julie Denny said the tower reflects the sun into their house, making it terribly bright in the morning.

Ms. Denny also complained about the siren at the firehouse.

Although the board had to issue a special permit to allow the tower to be erected, they told the Dennys and a couple of other neighbors in the audience they would have to plead their case to the Board of Fire Commissioners — something the neighbors said they would do at the commissioner’s meeting Monday night.

What the neighbors want is some kind of camouflage that would dull the sun’s reflections from the tower into their windows.

Julia Romanchuk Weisenberg, a Republican candidate for Town Board, suggested there might be ways to address the problem, including involving the Garden Club of Shelter Island for some plantings.

The town expects to enter into an inter-municipal agreement with Riverhead, with Shelter Island handling wood chipping and log cutting for Riverhead while that town provides services on the Island to seal cracks in roadways.