Plans for Havens Beach Remediation Estimated Around $207,000

Posted on 12 October 2011

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride has two major projects he would like to see accomplished before the end of his second term — the remediation of stormwater runoff contamination in the dreen that lets out into Havens Beach, and the bulkhead project to prevent further erosion on West Water Street.

If Tuesday night’s Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting was any indication, Mayor Gilbride will likely meet both goals.

Sag Harbor Village Planning Consultant Rich Warren was given permission to move forward with the permitting process for the remediation of the dreen at Havens Beach after a lengthy presentation on the scope and potential cost of a project over a decade in the making.

Six months ago, Warren presented preliminary plans to the village board outlining what his firm believes will be the most effective solution to manage bacteria in the dreen, created largely by stormwater runoff. The proposal combined the use of bio-filtration through a restored wetland in the ditch itself, as well as mechanized filtration, but Tuesday Warren said the plan has evolved slightly.

After studying the site for six months, with the aid of surveyor Michael Hemmer and engineer Steven Maresca, Warren said the final plan was devised after the team developed an understanding of the true topography and hydraulics of the site.

The final plan involves dredging approximately 1,550 cubic yards of silt and muck that sits at the bottom of the ditch, thereby slightly altering the slope into the ditch. Clean sand will fill the ditch and once it is clean, will be planted with wetland vegetation, creating natural bio-filtration. Warren said the system will help slow the velocity and flow rate of water entering the ditch after a rainstorm, and absorb pollutants like nitrates and phosphates before they can enter Sag Harbor Bay.

At the north end of the dreen, near the discharge point at Havens Beach, a concrete vault containing 300 Smart Sponge Plus SmartPaks — the only Environmental Protection Agency approved filter to handle the removal of bacteria from water — is proposed to add a second layer of filtration.

In addition, on the south end of the ditch near Hempstead Street, a new catch basin will be connected to an existing catch basin, with new piping also installed and the whole system re-pitched to allow for better water flow into the dreen. Warren originally planned to place a second filter unit on the south end of the ditch, but the topography prevented that. Instead the filter unit on the north end will be larger than originally planned.

Engineering is also planned on the north end of the ditch to aid in the proper flow of water into the filtration unit and out into Sag Harbor Bay.

Warren estimated the project will cost $207,000, although he stressed that was a ballpark figure and not necessarily the final cost. The more expensive aspects of the project involve purchasing the Smart Sponge Plus SmartPaks, which will initially cost around $75,000. According to Warren, the Smart Sponge SmartPaks will need to be replaced on a rotating basis, which could cost about $20,000 annually.

Warren added that after initial talks with Suffolk County, there may be grant funding available to offset the cost to the village.

Both the county and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation appear supportive of the plan, and after receiving approval to apply for permits, Warren said he believed this could be a plan implemented as early as next spring.

“I think we are ready to move forward,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride.

The Sag Harbor Village Board also received a presentation from Warren on a proposal to bulkhead a section of West Water Street to prevent erosion on the beachfront from threatening a section of roadway.

Last week, the village’s Harbor Committee — without the support of its chairman Bruce Tait — found the project inconsistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP).

On Tuesday, Warren said he had furnished a report to the Harbor Committee showing the plan was consistent with the LWRP as well as the village’s Harbor Management Plan. The Harbor Committee, he added, did cite policies within the LWRP in its decision to find the project inconsistent, but members were not specific about why exactly the bulkhead does not conform with the LWRP.

According to village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr., the village board has the right to overrule the Harbor Committee, and on Tuesday night it appeared the board was leaning that way, although trustee Ed Gregory asked for time to review Warren’s material before weighing in.

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