Stormwater project progresses
Bellport Village highway superintendent Jason Crane hopes to complete several other projects alongside the stormwater remediation at the highway yard. One project on that wish list includes updating these two fuel tanks. The larger tank is a 2,000-gallon gasoline tank and to the right is a 550-gallon diesel tank, which Crane says isn’t enough to meet their needs. He’s hoping for a dual-capacity 4,000-gallon tank underground. 


Stormwater project progresses


Last summer, the village received state approval for $475,000 in grant money to remediate stormwater drains in two locations, the highway yard and Thorn Hedge Road. The board agreed to install two new catch basins at the highway yard with approximately half of the funds.

It’s quite a big job, but highway superintendent Jason Crane sees the project as a perfect two-in-one opportunity. That’s why earlier this year he made a big pitch for several other projects he says are needed at the highway yard. According to Crane, completing them alongside the stormwater drain project would save not only time but money, since the yard would only have to be ripped up once.

That pitch, known among board members as Crane’s ‘wish list,’ includes improvements such as installing an upgraded underground electrical line and having National Grid switch over to gas. Crane also says that the fuel tank at the yard, first installed in 1991, is nearing the end of its life. “It’s starting to rust and rot and we want to change it before it becomes a problem,” he told the Advance via phone last week. The final upgrade he hopes to see is the installation of a 4,000-gallon tank for diesel and gas. “Right now we have a 2,000-gallon gasoline tank and a 550-gallon diesel tank,” he explained. “It’s not adequate.”

He added that the outdated fuel tanks could pose a danger to the bay in the event of a rupture. “[The drain] is 6 feet away. If that tank ruptures or the truck malfunctions or spills, it’ll be coming out into the bay by the time you drive down there,” he said. The new tank, he said, will have additional safety features to prevent that from happening. At last week’s work session, the board regrouped to see how many of the improvements would be feasible to complete along with the stormwater drains — and if grant money could help fund it.

With the highway yard project nearing the end of the design stage, Crane is optimistic about obtaining funds. “I think if we get creative in writing this, it could be approved,” said Mayor Ray Fell at the work session.

The Thorn Hedge Road design remains stalled. During the work session, the board, along with Crane and engineer Chris Voorhis, discussed several options. “We’re very limited in what we can do,” Crane said, since there’s only about 2 feet of depth until reaching groundwater in the low-lying area.

In March, Carrie O’Farrell, resource and wetlands assessment director at Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, provided the board an in-depth look at bioretention fields — rain gardens — as a possible solution.

According to Voorhis, vegetated rain gardens do well at capturing some tough contaminants such as nitrogen and hydrocarbons. “However, there is maintenance involved and aesthetic aspects to be included in the considerations,” he said.

Trustee Bob Rosenberg wondered if the roadside rain garden would impact the surrounding houses. “Those houses to the left and right should not be impacted,” Voorhis said. “The driveways are up beyond the area of work.

“Creating the garden along with an overlook on the bay and maybe a bench or two could create a park scenario at the end of the road. [Thorn Hedge] is a hot spot of people going for walks down to the end, so it would also be creating a destination point,” he continued, admitting that was a bit of a “selling point.”

Trustee Mike Ferrigno disagreed. “You’re dealing with a very small percentage of the village population,” he said. Ferrigno added that he was concerned about how village residents would react to the price tag. “[This project] serves maybe 50 families out of 1,000 in the village. It’d be hard to explain to those 900-plus families why we’re spending $100,000 here,” he said.

Mayor Ray Fell argued that these situations are what taxes are intended for. “I have no problem taking care of the road down there for residents. I would expect that if I had a major problem on my street, that [residents] would not be upset with spending their tax dollars to fix my street.”

The rain garden would be supplemented with strategically placed trees along the road, surrounded with gravel that absorbs water well. “Instead of trying to flow water 2,000 feet to one spot, we’re capturing, capturing and capturing along the way,” Crane said, noting that he likes that design plan best. “And we’re planting trees for the residents. They love that.”