Crews begin installing dry wells to combat stormwater runoff

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A series of leaching pools and pipes will be installed over the next several months along the southern shore of Southampton Town, between Eastport and Quogue, as part of an ongoing effort to prevent stormwater runoff from polluting local bays and waterways.

The work is being completed under Southampton Town’s stormwater abatement program, and is funded through a $1.2 million matching grant. The town has put up $600,000 to finance the work while the remaining money is coming from two state agencies, the Department of State and the Department of Environmental Conservation, according to Walter Bundy, the town’s stormwater manager. The grant was awarded 10 years ago, he said.

“This will make sure runoff doesn’t go into the bays,” said Mr. Bundy, who is overseeing the project. “We’re catching the first half inch of the runoff from the roads, which is called the ‘first flush.’”

The drainage installation work that will be completed between Eastport and Quogue should prevent stormwater runoff from entering Seatuck and Quantuck creeks, as well as Moniebogue and Moriches bays, Mr. Bundy said.

The installation of the drainage systems is costing $225,000, Mr. Bundy noted, adding that Cardo Site Development in Quogue was awarded the contract to complete the work about 18 months ago. Quogue Village Trustee Randy Cardo owns Cardo Site Development.

Mr. Bundy noted that the work now underway in western Southampton Town falls outside the jurisdiction of the DEC. Rather, the work is located within the South Shore Estuary, an area that falls under the purview of the Department of State. The work that will be overseen by the DEC will be completed within the next month, after the town secures the required permits.

Over the past five years, drainage systems have been installed in Sag Harbor, North Haven, and sections of Hampton Bays. Riverside and Flanders are the next hamlets that will receive drainage systems, Mr. Bundy said.

Aphrodite Montalvo, a spokeswoman for the DEC, explained that leaching pools prevent stormwater runoff from entering bays and creeks because the soil collected in the pools filter out contaminants before they can enter the water.

Crews installed the massive leaching pools on Mitchell Road in Westhampton Beach starting on Friday, and were still working in the area on Wednesday. The road was closed to vehicular traffic for the majority of those days. Mr. Bundy said that additional leaching pools and pipes will be installed in Westhampton Beach Village in the coming weeks, though he declined to identify which streets.

Mr. Bundy added that he does expect that other roads will have to be closed for extensive periods. “If any other roads are closed, [they] will be closed for a couple of hours for installing a cross connecting pipe,” he said. “There should be at least one lane open.”

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