A partnership for cleaner waters
The Village of Patchogue and the Town of Brookhaven announced their stormwater partnership in an intermunicipal agreement last week at Corey Creek in Blue Point. This two-year pilot program will utilize Fabco Industries, a Long Island company, for storm basin filter inserts in town-owned basins with a direct discharge to tributaries draining into the Great South Bay, part of the South Shore Estuary Reserve.
A total of 18 stormwater basin filters will be immediately installed by the Village of Patchogue in storm drains that flow into the surface water of Corey Creek, Tuthills Creek and the Swan River. The installation of the filters is fairly simple; each basin first must be cleaned by a vacuum truck owned by the village and then installed, which totals no more than 30 minutes worth of work.
“Stormwater is a problem that I think a lot of people really are aware of now,” said Jeff Fullmer, Fabco’s watershed and regulatory services coordinator. “It is really the No. 1 water-quality issue in total in the South Shore Estuary Reserve.”
Brookhaven Highway Superintendent Dan Losquadro, Patchogue Village Mayor Paul Pontieri and Brookhaven stormwater manager Veronica King, who collaborated on the effort, gathered at the Corey Creek North Marina on Davis Avenue during the Corey Creek installation last Thursday.
Though the Village of Patchogue is only 2.2 square miles, it is considered to be the drainage center into the Great South Bay. Storm basins filter stormwater as it goes into a storm drain or a catch basin before it empties into a pipe or into a stream and then into a tributary. The filters trap a number of pollutants from reaching the waters, such as floatable debris, contaminated sediments, trash, hydrocarbons, oils and greases, and bacteria that would otherwise discharge into the streams and the bay, Fullmer said. He also added that these filters are important to keep the depths of the waterways maintained as well.
Each Fabco unit costs about $1,000 to $1,500 including installation. The units will be maintained twice a year; the filter cartridges will be replaced once a year. Each replacement cartridge costs about $140 annually. However, the total cost of the manufacturing and installation of these filters for the Village of Patchogue is considered a capital investment and will cost $32,000, according to Losquadro. Fabco has also worked with the village in lowering the costs by refurbishing a number of their old filters. After the installation, it is up to the village to maintain them so the filters can continue to filter out the pollutants and aren’t topped over in heavy storms.
“One of the issues after Hurricane Sandy was the contamination of our shoreline and the fact that the water had nowhere to go and came up into the communities,” said Pontieri. “We need to be able to have these filters cleaned so the quality level of the water can be maintained,” says Pontieri.
The filters will also stop sediments from reaching the bottom of the creeks, which would otherwise build up until it is too shallow for boats to travel through during low tide.
“The installation of these filters means we’re going to have cleaner water; it means were going to be supporting jobs on Long Island and we’re going to be using green technology to do so,” concluded Fullmer. “Managing our stormwaters is a perfect example of what Long Islanders can do right now. It’s not something we need to plan out, engineer and design for the next five years. It’s something we can do right now.”
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