House-barge owner says sewer system costs could sink him
A man who lives in a house barge on the East End says he may not be able to keep his home afloat because of a new requirement in Suffolk County.
Michael Evers, a painter, says he happily traded New York City's skyscrapers for his house barge in Riverhead five years ago. But now, his floating home is subject to a new county law that calls for changes in the way house boats dispose of wastewater runoff. Evers says the cost of the upgrade could wind up sinking him.
So-called gray water from Evers' sinks and showers is currently being discharged into the water, but infrastructure has now been put in place to pump the runoff into a municipal sewer system.
Each house barge in the area was assessed $15,000 to help contribute to the hookup to the sewer system, and each home must also be retro-fitted with equipment to use the new infrastructure.
Evers says he agrees with the county mandate, but he can't shell out that kind of money. He's afraid of losing the home that has been in his family for 20 years. He's now selling off his artwork and starting a GoFundMe crowdsourcing campaign to cover the costs.
The town of Riverhead has not yet enforced the new mandate, and says it is giving the barge owners time get the renovations completed.