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Committee plans outreach for water quality tests: Seeks data to track Center residential issues

Some Islanders have speculated that even if a wastewater septic system was in place in the Center, many residents still wouldn’t have potable water.

That’s something the town’s Water Advisory Committee wants to find out, with real data to indicate the nature of any problem in the area.

Accordingly, plans call for outreach to residents asking if they have interest in testing, with the understanding it would be done without cost and with a guarantee that findings would not be released identifying results on individual lots.

What the Water Advisory Committee (WAC) members want to know is whether problems are widespread or sporadic, perhaps on specific lots with aged septic systems.

The initial step will be an outreach by letter to Center residents, likely to be sent to residents within the next two months. Money through either the town budget or grants would be used to pay for the testing.

With actual data, the WAC can decide if there is a need for remediation and what that might entail.

“It’s a no-brainer to have your water tested,” WAC member Lisa Shaw said.

Fresh Pond and Menantic Creek

The committee got updates on projects involving Fresh Pond and Menantic Creek. Town Engineer Joe Finora anticipates there will be a need for a state wetlands permit on the Fresh Pond project, but wasn’t sure at this point whether a local wetlands permit will also be required.

Alice Dupree of the newly formed Menantic Creek Keepers Group, outlined efforts the ad hoc group has made in advancing efforts to improve water quality there. She said neighbors have pledged to pay the $2,900 needed for a monitoring system to test conditions in the Creek.

The group plans a meeting with the Town Board at the May 23 work session to talk about progress to date and enlist support for a Town Committee to get involved. On May 28 at 4 p.m., neighbors are meeting at 15B South Midway Road to talk further.

They want WAC members to attend both sessions to support their requests, Ms. Dupree said.

They have met with the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Committee and got advice to determine what money neighbors are willing to pay for a project and to file a formal application to the WQI for funding.

WAC member Doug Sherrod also suggested they should reach out to the Peconic Estuary Partnership, which might be willing to assist with a grant.