Featured Story

Shelter Island Town receives grant money for water studies

There was good news for the Water Advisory Committee (WAC) Monday night. 

Town Engineer John Cronin told his colleagues the town would be receiving state and county grants to finance feasibility studies for major projects.

A “fertigation” project is being explored that could use treated wastewater from the Heights Property Owners Corporation (HPOC) septic system to irrigate the grounds at Goat Hill. A 50-50 matching grant from the Suffolk County Water Quality Protection & Restoration Program (WQPRP) of $30,000 would cover half the cost of what is anticipated to be a $60,000 price tag to determine the efficacy of the proposal.

A feasibility study of Fresh Pond remedies of water quality is expected to cost $46,575, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has awarded a $30,000 grant. 

The grants aren’t expected to provide any money for project design, Mr. Cronin said. But design of a project for Fresh Pond would likely not be extensive, he added.

Another project headed for grant funding for a feasibility study is a municipal wastewater project that would deal with determining the efficacy of a proposal to create a septic system plan to serve the Town Hall complex, Police Department, Justice Court, the Shelter Island Library and Shelter Island Fire Department. Total grant funding to date from the WQPRP and the New York State DEC for the study is $71,925. Mr. Cronin said the total cost of the project is still being worked out. 

The winning grant applications resulted from a joint effort by Mr. Cronin and town grant consultant Jennifer Mesiano Higham. 

“The good news is the money’s in the pipeline,” Mr. Cronin told the WAC members.

Water updates

• The Presbyterian Church water crisis of non-potable water is on target for an April 30 solution. 

• Elimination of stormwater outflow into surrounding waters in compliance with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System requirements (MS4) may be on its way to a remedy. Mr. Cronin said there are approximately 10 areas on the Island where stormwater washes into surrounding waters. An effort is underway to deal with those areas so runoff stays on land and re-enters the aquifer. 

At the same time, the engineer noted there are some areas where the town can control its outflow, but they are connected to county and state outflows and those levels of government would have to deal with their parts of the outflow. One such area cited is Bridge Street.

• A coastal resilience plan dealing with road flooding is an initiative started by County Legislator Al Krupski Jr. (D-Cutchogue) to tackle issues relating to rising sea levels. Mr. Cronin was tapped by Supervisor Gerry Siller to represent the town on the committee, but he said he’s not necessarily convinced a countywide solution will serve Shelter Island.

He noted that he and former public works commissioner Jay Card Jr. had worked out a plan they believed would serve Shelter Island for at least 50 years to deal with rising sea levels and the potential for increased flooding in some areas.

Mr. Cronin questions whether people from several municipalities can effectively reach agreement on a plan, noting that Mr. Krupski and County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac) are not united on the approach to the issue. Ms. Fleming believes towns and villages are already addressing individual solutions, while Mr. Krupski sees the need for a more county-wide approach, Mr. Cronin said.