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Dering Harbor: New tank reduces chloride levels

At the Aug. 10 Dering Harbor Board of Trustees meeting, Patrick Parcells, the trustee who has been working with the Suffolk County Water Authority on revamping the village’s water system, provided an update.

With the installation of a new water tank and changes in management of the system, chlorides in the water supply have been dramatically reduced. “In 2017, we had chloride levels above 1,800,” Mr. Parcells said. “This July the chloride levels have been below 60.”

The Suffolk County Water Authority, following EPA regulations, lists the maximum allowable level of chloride in drinking water as 250 milligrams per liter (parts per million).

The village is currently using two existing wells, which have previously had problems with saltwater intrusion.

Mr. Parcells said the U.S Geological Survey has tested water at a location slated for two new wells to be drilled and found the chloride levels at 15. Applications to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to permit the new wells were filed in May, he said.

The board had slated a hearing on changes to the local waterworks law “to clarify the limitations of the use of village water to human consumption and sanitary purposes.” The hearing was closed to allow for more time to review the law in its entirety rather than trying to fix parts of it.

One part of the law that needs to be changed, according to Mayor Betsy Morgan, is that existing irrigation systems are allowed to be connected to public water, which permits the risk of cross-contamination.

The Shelter Island Board of Assessors for the Town of Shelter Island provided an overview on the assessment process. Chairman Craig Wood and assessors Pat Castoldi and Judith Lechmanski discussed the methods for comparing homes to those being sold in the area. With few homes being sold in the village, board members asked how the assessors would find comparable sales.

Ms. Castoldi said the assessors look at sales in similar areas, including Shorewood, Hay Beach, Silver Beach, Nostrand Parkway and Ram Island. Mr. Wood said the assessors would soon be initiating a survey in the village, going door to door in order to update the information they have on file. This survey is done every five years, he said.

The Board discussed changes to the local zoning law to conform with state requirements for training members of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and to provide for the appointment of alternate members should a board member need to be recused. The hearing for that law as well as one relating to the Architectural Review Board was held open until the trustees’ next meeting on September 14.

The board appointed Rob Ferris as liaison to the mayor for Public Works, including upkeep on Village Hall and coordination with the town highway supervisor. Mr. Parcells reported that in response to residents’ complaints of flooding from clogged drains, the town had agreed to clean out the drains and repeat the process on a regular basis.

Prior to the board meeting, the ZBA convened to consider an appeal from resident Tim Hogue of a building inspector’s order. The issue was a 50-by-50 foot gravel parking space installed in a grassy waterfront area despite the building inspector’s order to stop work. Mr. Hogue’s attorney, Lee Snead, presented the ZBA with a request for zoning documents and said it would be necessary to question Mayor Morgan and the building inspector, George Butts, to understand the basis for the order.

The ZBA adjourned the hearing until September 14 to allow board members to review Mr. Snead’s requests.