What is the service area of the Suffolk County Sewer District No. 3?
Suffolk County Sewer District No. 3 is located in the southwestern quadrant of the County and includes portions of the Towns of Islip, Babylon and a small area of Huntington. The District includes an area of approximately 57 square miles, with over 950 miles of sewer lines and 14 remote pumping stations. The existing Sewer District No. 3 service area is approximately 95% residential.
The wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) serving the District was activated in October 1981 and is located in Bergen Point, West Babylon and, thus, is commonly referred to as the “Bergen Point WWTP.” The facilities were designed to provide secondary wastewater treatment for an average daily flow of 30 million gallons per day (MGD) plus a scavenger waste flow of 0.5 MGD. The estimated population of the sewer district is approximately 340,000 people.
What are the basic components of a public sewer system?
A “public sewer system” includes plastic or iron collection piping with manholes every 300-400 feet to facilitate maintenance. Wastewater is conveyed to the treatment facility by gravity or with the assistance of a pump station. Pumping is required when collection systems are lengthy or changes in topography make “lifting” of sewage necessary. Treatment facilities have screening equipment to capture oversized materials and settling tanks to remove sand and grit. Biological treatment systems reduce the concentrations of pollutant such as nitrogen and organic compounds. Disinfection reduces effluent pathogen levels prior to its discharge to groundwater or into bays and harbors. Pollutant concentrations in wastewater effluent are regulated to protect our drinking water aquifers and coastal waters.
What other sewering options exist in Suffolk County?
Approximately seventy percent of Suffolk County's 1.5 million residents have an “on-site sanitary wastewater treatment and disposal system.” These systems include a septic tank or cesspool for solids settling, connected to leaching pools to allow clarified water to seep into the ground. Homeowners must periodically pump out their septic tank and less frequently install a new leaching pool once drainage slows down. Many of the on-site systems in established communities are more than 40 years old.
How Will the Project Affect Me?
This project is a study. There are no immediate economic or construction-related impacts associated with this project. Depending upon the study results, the project could be the first step towards future implementation of a sanitary sewer infrastructure that could help improve area ground and surface water quality and support economic development and revitalization of the area. Alternatively, stakeholders could conclude that the benefits associated with sewering are not sufficient to outweigh the costs and the area will continue to rely on on-site wastewater treatment and disposal systems. While area stakeholders will not affect the objective assessment of sewerage infrastructure requirements and costs, they should have significant input into the determination of sewering benefits.