Bloomberg Pledges $1 Million To East End Water Quality Research


Two charity organizations founded by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg have pledged $1 million in cash, as well as logistical and planning support, toward the creation of the New York State Center for Clean Water Technology, the newly announced septics technology development hub to be created by Stony Brook University and officials from the state and Southampton Town.

The money will come from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charity fund set up by Mr. Bloomberg to bolster a wide variety of social and scientific initiatives.

Along with the dollars and cents will come practical assistance from sister organization Bloomberg Associates, a consultancy group that Mr. Bloomberg created after leaving the mayor’s office to provide planning, strategic and logistical support to large municipalities for a broad range of infrastructure, public health, education, arts and civic projects.

On Friday, Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that when she presented the idea of the center to Mr. Bloomberg’s group, the former mayor himself called to say that his support machine would be in on the ground floor.

“We sent him the proposal when we found out the governor was giving us the green light,” Ms. Throne-Holst said this week. “[Mr. Bloomberg] called us up and said, ‘This is just the kind of project that we are looking for.’ He said we’re in for $1 million and … whatever kind of technical support you need.”

Earlier this week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced that the 2015 state budget would include some $2 million in seed money for the center, which will be developed in partnership with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Stony Brook University and Southampton Town.

The vision for the center—which Ms. Throne-Holst has credited her deputy chief of staff, Jennifer Garvey, for having conceived—is for the university’s engineering and science schools to lead a research effort endeavoring to develop new technology in septic treatment that will drastically lower the cost and effectiveness of septic systems when it comes to removing nitrogen from human waste, with an eye toward the East End becoming the hub for private-sector manufacturing of the new systems.

The concept development team for the center will hold its first official planning meeting next week and will be presenting a calendar of specific timelines for ramping up the center’s early efforts.

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