On Thursday, April 28, 2022, Assemblywoman Gina L. Sillitti (D-Port Washington) and Senator Anna M. Kaplan (D-North Hills) announced that they had secured $5 million for the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District to help transform the private septic tanks of dozens of businesses along Plandome Road in Manhasset into a public sewer system. The lawmakers secured the $5 million grant in the recently passed 2022-23 state budget.
“For years, many small business and building owners in our community have struggled with the high costs of maintaining septic tanks, cutting into their bottom line and making it harder to make ends meet,” said Assemblywoman Sillitti. “I made this issue a top priority during budget negotiations – not only to support local business, but also to protect our bays and the Long Island Sound from environmental harm.”
Senator Anna M. Kaplan said “for too long, the lack of sewers on Plandome Road has held back our downtown in Manhasset, forcing small businesses to pay through the nose for private septic tanks that pollute our environment and threaten our drinking water. I’m proud to have fought alongside Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti to secure $5 million in this year’s State budget so that we can invest in this critical infrastructure that will protect our natural resources and allow our downtown and our small businesses to thrive.”
In recent years, Long Island has grappled with the impact of pollution caused by outdated septic systems that allow excess nitrogen and dangerous bacteria into our groundwater, bays, and the Long Island Sound, making our water dangerous for swimmers, and destroying natural buffers in our local ecosystems that once protected coastal areas from storm surge. By replacing these outdated systems with sewers that remove harmful pollution, we can reverse the damage done to our local environment and begin restoring our beneficial coastal ecosystems.
In addition to the negative impact on our environment, the existing septic systems in the area cost local small business owners thousands of dollars a month to maintain, hurting their bottom lines, and preventing new small businesses from opening in the community.
Assemblywoman Sillitti and Senator Kaplan fought to include the $5 million grant for the Manhasset sewer project in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) capital projects budget, and it was ultimately included in the final, enacted State Budget that passed in April, 2022. Their fight for funding came on the heels of a push by local residents and business leaders to advance the project because of its benefit to the environment and its impact on local small businesses and Manhasset’s downtown, an effort that resulted in an online petition that garnered nearly 1,500 signatures.
“On behalf of the Town, I want to sincerely thank Assemblywoman Sillitti and Senator Kaplan for securing a grant to connect Plandome Road to a sewer system,” said Council Member Veronica Lurvey. “Moving to sewers makes clear sense. It helps alleviate the burden on residents and commercial establishments and will be a help to Manhasset’s downtown. It is also better for the environment. We look forward to continuing to work with the stakeholders as this project advances.”
“We are grateful for all of Assemblywoman Sillitti’s hard work on behalf of the district,” said Commissioner Steve Reiter of the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District. “This is a win-win situation. Good for commerce in Manhasset and good for the environment.”
“The Manhasset Chamber of Commerce has been working diligently to bring sewers in Manhasset to help clean Manhasset Bay and to relieve the business community from the high cost of cesspools,” said Chamber Committee Member Robert Donno. “Assemblywoman Sillitti’s initiative to get $5 million will make this effort a reality