An attempt to secure state funding for a sewage treatment project thorugh a Community Funding Application has been denied according to Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. who spoke at last week’s chamber of commerce meeting in Kings Park.
“We are still viable, pursuing and taking the local steps we can to be able to, when we can... to access the federal funding that we need.”
According to Kennedy, 115 of the 200 projects submitted made the first cut of the approval process.
“The range of projects seeking this state funding is high,” said Kennedy.
The project, estimated to cost $80 million dollars, would provide sewer hook ups for many, but not all, main street businesses in Kings Park and Smithtown. The plan proposes to take sewage from the downtown Kings Park and Smithtown areas and pump it to a new plant in Kings Park.
Kennedy recently backed a $70 million project that is underway in the Hauppuage Industrial Park to expand the sewer system nearly doubling its peak capacity to 1.65 million gallons.
$1.8 million has already been spent on plans for the project. Local civic leaders said the project lacked transparency and asked that other options be looked into.
“If we think there are better alternatives for Kings Park, are they gong to get the amount of attention as the one that you have now?” asked Linda Henninger, chairperson for the Kings Park Civic Association’s sewer committee.
Also part of the plan would be to acquire five-acres of land owned by St. Johnland Nursing Home to be used as leeching fields. John Donovan, of the Department of Public Works said his department has "talked with St. Johnland" regarding the land.
Local resident Anne Carlin, who lives in the Archer Woods section in San Remo, which backs up to the St. Johnland parcel said that area already emits foul odors and will get worse if leeching fields are housed there.
“When it is hot and humid it stinks,” said Carlin.
According to Kennedy, the existing plant is at capacity but civic leaders said he has not taken into consideration the 40,000 gallons that no longer needed to be treated when the town dump in cell six was capped.
“There should be a push to look into something else,” said Mike Rosato, chairman of the Nissequogue River State Park Foundation. “Can we hook up sooner, without having to wait for Smithtown? We think if it is looked into it can be done cheaper and quicker for us,” he said.
Donovan said the plans could be submitted and considered again next year.
"We are all in favor of bringing sewers to Kings Park and Smithtown, but it has to be the right plan," said Sean Lehman, president of the Kings Park Civic Association.
Henninger, said she spoke with Kennedy after the meeting about looking into other options.
"We spoke about the inevitability of a plan, that if you keep moving forward with a plan, it is almost inevitable that is what you get," said Henninger. "It pays to start looking now and I think he will. We shook hands on it," she said.