Joint Project Means Relief for Residents in the Birches Neighborhood

Carl L Marcellino

April 23, 2009

Locust Valley, N.Y. –  Senator Carl L. Marcellino, Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto today announced  the beginning of construction on a new sewage collection system for the Locust Valley community known as “The Birches.” The County and Town have joined together to develop a plan to share the $13.2 million cost that will finally solve the decades-long problem of flooding in the Birches neighborhood. This project is eligible for ARRA environmental stimulus funding thru the New York State Environmental Facilities Corp. It is anticipated that it will receive a low interest loan as well as partial loan forgiveness up to 50% and both the County and the Town are submitting applications for their share of the project costs. A $540,000 grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will also help pay for the project.

 “Sewer projects don’t grab headlines very often, but the Birches Project is important because this day marks the completion of a long road to improving the quality of life for the residents in this Locust Valley community and the beginning of the cleanup of Mill Neck Creek. This project is a great example of how all levels of government can achieve a goal that benefits the public and the environment,” said Senator Carl L. Marcellino

“We have finally solved a 40-year-long problem.   This is a great example of two different governments, Nassau County and the Town of Oyster Bay, working together,” said Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi. “This is really a win-win situation for everyone. We are improving the quality of life for our residents who have dealt with this problem year after year and protecting the environment by preventing waste materials from ending up in our local waterways. It is so exciting that Mill Neck Creek may once again be open for passive recreation such as kayaking and shell fishing."

 Sewage disposal has been a chronic problem in the 49-home Birches community since it was developed in the 1960’s because it is located in an area with a high water table, and flooding is a common occurrence each time it rains. Cesspool overflow is currently emptied into an overworked storm water drainage system, which eventually discharges into Mill Neck Creek. In 1983, a chlorination tank was installed to reduce bacteria contamination to the creek, but the treated wastewater does not meet NYSDEC standards.

Last year, the Nassau County Department of Public Works took over operation at the Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plant, which will now allow for the re-routing of wastewater for treatment to Glen Cove.  This will eliminate the discharge of treated water into Mill Neck Creek, and will ensure that the creek’s water quality remains high.

 The improvements of existing facilities include the planning, design and construction of a sanitary sewage collection system, pumping station, sewage force main, storm water conveyance system, and roadway enhancements.  The new pumping station, which will be designed with community input, will be constructed on a county-owned lot that already houses the chlorine contact chamber. Construction of the new collection and storm drain system that is currently buried beneath local roadways is scheduled to begin today.

 The County and Town agree to provide monetary relief for homeowners with overflowing septic systems until the sewage collection system is available for use. Nassau County allows for disposal of the homeowner’s cesspool pump-out waste at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant at no cost, and the Town of Oyster Bay reimburses homeowners for one-half of the cesspool company’s invoice for performing the pump-out service. Homeowners will be able to begin connecting to the new collection system in December 2010.