Southold agrees to help water authority seek funding for $ 27 million pipeline project

The Suffolk County Water Authority and Southold Town officials have agreed to work together so the agency can seek grants for an 8-mile, $ 27 million water pipeline billed as a good sustainability project.

City council voted 5-0 at its Tuesday meeting to reach an intermunicipal agreement with the Oakdale-based agency regarding the North Fork Transmission Main project, and to participate and assist in the grant application process. The project aims to connect an existing water pipe in Flanders to a pipe located in Laurel.

Southold supervisor Scott Russell said the project would be an “all win, no loss” situation.

“It will help provide a source of water that will actually help recharge the aquifer, it will reduce the strain on the aquifer that is depleting it, and underlying that there is no cost to the city. Russell said.

Suffolk County Water Authority chief executive Jeff Szabo told Newsday on Wednesday that there have been issues over the years – including saltwater intrusion, water availability, nitrates and the fragile nature of the local aquifer – with a series of small drinking water wells scattered around the city which the agency uses to serve some of its some 9,500 clients in Southold.

The pipeline, Szabo said, would give the agency the ability to move high-quality water from the west to the community of North Fork, “which would be beneficial to the residents of Southold and to the aquifer itself. -same”.

He said the project would also allow the agency to decommission at least two to three Southold wellfields, each with multiple wells. In addition, the agency could potentially reduce the water it draws from existing wells, which would allow the restoration and preservation of aquifers.

The agency will seek a grant of up to $ 11 million – which would fund about 40 percent of project costs – from the New York State Waterworks Improvement Act through the State Environmental Facilities Corporation. The deadline for applications is Monday and the awards are expected to be announced in the spring.

The agency plans to fund the project through a combination of grants and money set aside in its capital budget, and will explore other sources of potential grants, including the recently passed federal infrastructure bill. Szabo said.

The water authority is working on obtaining permits from the Ministry of Environmental Protection and securing easements for the pipeline, the construction of which is expected to take six to nine months and could be completed by spring 2023, officials from the Suffolk County Water Authority said.

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