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Klenawicus Field out as septic site: Manwaring Road suggested as alternative

A site previously viewed for four units of affordable housing is now the alternative recommendation to be considered for a wastewater treatment system for the Center. But there could be a nearby alternative for four units of affordable housing.

Town Engineer Joe Finora told the Water Advisory Committee Monday afternoon that consultants Lombardo Associates see the site at 16 Manwaring Road, across from Sylvester Manor’s farm stand, as a viable alternative to Klenawicus Airfield for the wastewater treatment system.

The newly proposed site doesn’t raise issues that were aired when the Town consultants first proposed Klenawicus for the treatment system, which would pipe liquid wastes from Center buildings, including Shelter Island School, the Community Center, the Library and Firehouse, as well as the government complex, to the airfield.

A driving force behind the use of a currently Town-owned site is the timing Shelter Island School has for a new septic system, Mr. Finora said. The school has three aged septic systems in place and at least one is failing.

That forces school officials to say if a new system can’t be in place within 18 to 24 months, it will be forced to abandon the plan to participate in the Center system.

The criteria used in evaluating alternative sites has included the need to either use a currently Town-owned site, or have one that could be acquired by the Town from a willing seller.

A second criteria is the existence of groundwater flow that is dynamic enough to move liquid wastes from the Center to the site, and a downhill site would better facilitate that process, the engineer said.

The Manwaring Road site is likely to be judged by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services as having sufficient setbacks necessary for its use, and a letter seeking an opinion from the Health Department has already been submitted, Mr. Finora said. The site is currently zoned for business, making for a relatively small setback, he said.

A site appropriate for the treatment and disposal needs to not only have the necessary downhill gradient, but be large enough if the system needs additions to handle contaminants not currently identified as toxic to groundwater or soil.

Again, the 16 Manwaring site meets the need, the engineer said. It could also be expanded to cover other Island areas beyond the Center, he said.

Among previously considered areas, Fiske Field wouldn’t work because it would not provide enough of a downward flow of wastewater. Nor would Sachem’s Woods, which has covenants that limit its use for anything but wells to provide drinking water, Mr. Finora said.

Talks got underway with Sylvester Manor officials, who were open to exploring possibilities, but acquiring a necessary easement or property agreement became too complex to be negotiated with the timeline imposed to keep the school a part of the overall plan.

However, Sylvester Manor officials are interested in exploring possible use of some of its land for affordable housing, Mr. Finora said at the WAC meeting. He clarified that on Tuesday when asked, saying housing is among subjects to be further discussed and referred details to the Sylvester Manor Board.

At Tuesday’s work session, following Mr. Finora’s presentation, Supervisor Gerry Siller said next Tuesday’s work session would include Lombardo Associates, members of the WAC and other committees dealing with water issues and anyone who would like to comment on the latest proposal.

That meeting gets underway at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26.