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Center septic proposal hits a hitch: Resident says airfield wrong site for treatment system

A proposal to locate a septic treatment system to deal with contaminants from multiple Center buildings could be headed for a rocky road.

Despite praise for the engineer’s report delivered by Pio Lombardo of Massachusetts-based Lombardo Associates at the Dec. 14 Town Board work session, it may not be easy going for a plan recommending placement of the treatment system underground at the Klenawicus Airfield.

Penny Kerr, a member of the Green Options Committee and an airfield neighbor, said at the Dec. 28 Town Board annual meeting that Town officials should seek an alternative site.

The area already experiences flooding, Ms. Kerr said. The idea of locating a system where thousands of gallons of water would be piped into the area, coupled with potential expansion of the treatment system in future years, needs to be re-examined, she said.

Mr. Lombardo outlined a number of reasons why the airfield site would be advantageous, including possible additions of equipment to treat other wastes besides the high nitrogen content that the system would be initially targeting.

Town Engineer Joe Finora has been outspoken about the Town’s need to prepare to treat other contaminants in addition to nitrogen, but that requires space that other sites lack, Mr. Lombardo said.

“We’re not going to rush into anything,” Councilman Jim Colligan told Ms. Kerr, backed by assurances from Supervisor Gerry Siller that presentation of the engineer’s report was only the beginning of discussions.

He said he plans to invite members of the Water Advisory Committee, the Water Quality Improvements Advisory Board, the Green Options Committee and others to a work session to discuss the report. Gordon Gooding, chairman of the Community Preservation Fund Advisory Board, said his members should also be a part of the discussion.

Individual residents will also have opportunities to comment on the proposal, providing feedback on their concerns, Mr. Siller said.

Pilots Association contract

The Board authorized Mr. Siller to sign a contract with the Shelter Island Pilots Association to continue to manage Klenawicus Airfield through April 30, 2023.

At the same time, the supervisor said he will set up a meeting at a January work session with neighbors who have some concerns about the operation of the site.

Mr. Colligan received an agreement from his colleagues for an inspection tour to determine what can be done about what he said was a deteriorating vehicle he believes has to be removed. He also has expressed concerns about debris in surrounding vegetative growth around the edges of the field, which he describes as a dumping ground.

USGS contract

The Board authorized Mr. Siller to execute a contract with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the U.S. Department of the interior for ongoing hydrologic data collection that will run through Sept. 30, 2024. The contract is for $64,900. In addition to the ongoing measurement of well water at several test wells on the Island on a monthly basis, the USGS will provide monitoring equipment at all test wells to provide ongoing readings that will replace the once-a-month readings that always lag current conditions. The Water Advisory Committee has been hoping it could gain agreement to move such monitoring equipment from a single well, but learned that with the signing of the new contract, the Island would become a test site for the USGS with monitoring equipment placed at all test wells.

Ram’s Head Inn moorings

Months after the Water Management Advisory Commission recommended approval to transfer eight moorings at the Ram’s Head Inn from James and Linda Eklund to current Inn owner Aandrea Carter, it finally appears to be headed for passage.

Ms. Carter had requested a vote on the moorings at the Dec. 28 annual meeting, but the supervisor said the Town Board would discuss the matter at its Jan. 4 reorganizational meeting and work session. At the same time, he said he anticipates the transfers will take place with no problem.

Zoom access for meetings

Technology is allowing easy access to Town Board and committee and board meetings. Instead of clerks having to respond individually to requests for access, the links will be posted on the Town website and available in two ways:

• Click on the listing of meetings on the Town calendar

• Visit the specific committee page and the link will appear there.

Goodbye and good luck, Albert Dickson

The proclamation will come shortly, but as Albert Dickson’s four-year term came to an end when he opted not to seek re-election this year, his colleagues had kind words.

Mr. Siller thanked Mr. Dickson for his hard work, knowledge of Town history and passion in driving forward clean water efforts.

Mr. Colligan told Mr. Dickson he was grateful for getting to know the former councilman and appreciated all he has learned from him.

Resident Bill Mastro said he and his wife Jodi appreciate Mr. Dickinson’s commitment, integrity, openness, dedication to the Town and for waging “the good fight” in pushing forward environmental initiatives.