Peconic Green Growth asks Greenport to apply for wastewater grant

Greenport Village may apply for a grant that could protect its water supply for future generations.

Peconic Green Growth, an organization that aims to preserve and enhance natural resources through sustainability, is requesting funds to execute an engineering study that would involve background research on a potential water reuse project.

If completed, officials said last Thursday, the project would redirect up to 300,000 gallons per day of treated effluent, or liquid waste, from Greenport’s sewage treatment plants, which is normally discharged into Long Island Sound, so it can be reused for landscape irrigation within the Long Island Sound watershed and local aquifer recharge.

Glynis Berry of Peconic Green Growth, longtime Greenport resident John Severini and Peconic Estuary Program director Joyce Novak asked the Village Board last Thursday to apply for the Wastewater Infrastructure Engineering and Planning grant from the Environmental Facilities Corporation, which would fund the engineering study.

“This is the most important project because it tackles three issues: it protects the quantity of fresh drinking water for the village and Southold Town, [reduces] the chance of saltwater intrusion … and it protects the quality of the Sound by reducing nitrogen loading,” Ms. Berry said Friday.

“I don’t think people understand how fragile their use of fresh water is,” she said, adding that either she or Mr. Severini would write up the grant application, which could request $100,000.

The proposed project has been backed by the LI Sound Study, Group for the East End, county Legislator Al Krupski’s office and the North Fork Environmental Council, Ms. Berry said.

The engineering study would include feasibility and planning studies that are required to move the project forward. The study would identify required treatment levels for reuse, technical and capital needs, estimated costs and maintenance and operational requirements, Ms. Berry said.

Mr. Severini, Ms. Berry and Ms. Novak approached the board last March, and board members agreed at that time to consider an effluent repurposing project.

Potential users of treated wastewater are the 144-acre Peconic Landing, a heavy local user of fresh water, Ms. Berry said, or Island’s End Golf Course — located only a mile from where the effluent flows into the Sound.

The trio previously applied for two grants from the Long Island Community Foundation and from the Department of Environmental Conservation that were rejected for unknown reasons, Mr. Severini said.

“We’re on the brink of a very serious situation,” Ms. Berry said. “This is a cost-effective way of solving three different problems.”

If the engineering study is completed, Ms. Berry said, an additional design phase would be required to finalize the project.

Photo caption: Glynis Berry of Peconic Green Growth asks the Greenport Village Board last Thursday to apply for an engineering study grant related to a potential water reuse project. (Credit: Kate Nalepinski)

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