Oakdale gets $26M grant to switch to sewage system
Hundreds of homes in Oakdale are being hooked up to a sewage system free of charge.
Residents in the area say cesspools in their houses have been a big problem.
Dave Hescheles says his cesspool leaks into the canal behind his house so he can't use the water for fishing, collecting clams or swimming.
"Something needs to be done," he says.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is seeking to solve that problem and clean up the water along the South Shore by giving Oakdale $26 million to switch roughly 400 homes from cesspools to sewers.
"We have to provide sanitary systems if we're gonna keep our water safe," Cuomo says.
Part of the state grant would extend pipes from the sewage treatment plant in West Babylon to homes in Oakdale.
Environmentalists say that once that happens, the water in the Great South Bay will be much cleaner.
Adrienne Esposito, of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, says pollution from septic tanks is harmful to aquatic life, beaches and the public.
"It doesn't solve the whole problem, but it's one giant step at a time," Esposito says.
Homeowners will eventually have to pay an annual fee to use the sewer system, but some think that may be cheaper than having their cesspools emptied all the time.
"You pay for it one way or another," said Chris Hines of Oakdale.
Before the switch can happen, Oakdale residents must vote to approve the plan.