Lawmakers, environmental group plan to remedy sewage concerns on Fire Island
Lawmakers and an environmental group are working on a plan to remedy growing sewage concerns on Fire Island.
Suffolk County Legislator Steven Flotteron and Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, have been working together for the past year to establish their plan.
They say Fire Island has its own unique set of challenges when it comes to treating wastewater. “Eighty percent of the septic systems drain into the Great South Bay, not into the ocean,” says Esposito.
The 32-mile barrier island with 3,600 homes and businesses uses outdated cesspools. Because the water table is so high, the sewage eventually makes its way into the Great South Bay.
The Fire Island communities along with the different towns, villages, Suffolk County and federal officials are currently working together to turn the tide by hiring an engineering firm.
That firm’s goal will be to look at the possibilities of getting Fire Island's wastewater treated. “We need an engineer to come up with a plan that is unique to Fire Island, its sandy soil, its unique water table, which is a little different than the mainland of Long Island,” says Flotteron.
Ocean Beach Village is one community on Fire Island that has a wastewater treatment plant that was recently updated.
The Ocean Beach wastewater treatment serves 600 homes and businesses in the village, however there's a possibility it can serve other communities on fire Island.
Fire Island Association President Susie Goldhirsch tells News 12 she’s had her family reside on the island for over 100 years and believes the treatment plan is a good start.
“We are all in. Our communities can't wait to find out what the options are to manage our wastewater,” says Goldhirsch.
She represents the 17 communities that exist on the island and feels “very grateful [for the] County Legislature for funding it because we're a fragile barrier.”
The group says it plans on beginning work on Fire Island over the next month.
News 12 is told a firm has been hired to oversee the work and that the plan is expected to take a year.