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Jun 4, 2012 5:07 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Suffolk County Water Authority Eyes Expansion To Unserved Areas

Jun 15, 2012 11:50 AM

Public water may be coming to a street near you.

The Suffolk County Water Authority has identified seven spots in Southampton Town where it is eyeing expansion, and it plans to begin an aggressive outreach campaign soon to solicit new customers and add new water mains.

By adding water mains to areas that lack them and hooking up new customers to those 
mains, water authority officials say they can not only improve the whole townwide flow of water, but also potentially 
boost water pressure in those homes.

“One of the things we always try to be cognizant of is the ability to move water throughout the system,” said Jeff Szabo, the chief executive officer for the water authority.

Of approximately 32,000 residential parcels in Southampton Town, about 18,000 are SCWA customers, while the remaining 14,000 use private wells, according to ballpark estimates offered by the authority.

“I’m very excited to kick off this targeted effort to provide safe, tested drinking water to additional residents in Southampton,” Mr. Szabo said.

If at least 40 percent of the residents and businesses along a proposed water main route sign on and agree to pay a certain amount—a figure that 
depends on such factors as 
proximity to other mains and housing density, for example, and which can cost upward of thousands of dollars 
each, but can be paid over time—the water authority will move forward with installing a main.

A proposal to have Southampton Town foot some of the 
costs of installing the mains, which would be reimbursed later by homeowners, does 
not appear, initially, to have much traction with town officials.

Mr. Szabo and other water authority officials said they have talked conceptually with town officials about their ideas, including the possibility of having the town chip in some of the costs. If the percentage of 
property owners along a route falls just shy of 40 percent, officials were hoping to have a policy in place in which the 
town could front an amount equal to what would be provided by the customers making up the rest of the 40 percent, and later be reimbursed by the authority.

But Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst recently said that while the authority has informed the town of its plans to work more proactively 
to inform residents about the benefits of public water and how to connect to it, which she thinks is a “good exercise,” the idea of having the town 
foot some of the bill initially “seems problematic on the face of it.”

“I don’t think we are in the business of funding water hookups on behalf of the water authority if there are some customers who do not want it,” she said.

A secondary benefit to increasing service throughout the town, according to water authority officials, would be enhanced fire protection via more hydrants, and the subsequent possibility of reductions in the cost of fire protection insurance for residents.

The lack of water as it relates to fighting fires in certain sections of town was evident in two separate blazes this past winter. In January, a 10,000-
square-foot mansion on Jordan Drive in the Deerfield 
Meadows development in Water Mill was reduced to rubble in a blaze, the cause of which town fire marshals still have not determined. Firefighters noted at the time that they had trouble getting enough water to 
fight the flames and had to 
call in tankers,noting there 
were no hydrants in that subdivision.

A lack of hydrants was also cited by firefighters battling a blaze that broke out in March at the Hampton Bays Mobile Home Park on West Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays, gutting one trailer and damaging several nearby homes. Hampton Bays has its own water district, separate from the water authority.

In addition to touting the benefits of hooking up to public water, the authority is also offering to test the quality of homeowners’ well water, as a special incentive.

Homeowners who live in certain sections of North Sea, Water Mill, Tuckahoe and Noyac can expect to receive letters from the authority within the next month asking if they are interested in connecting to the public water supply—to be followed by phone calls and possibly door-to-door visits. Those who live in areas to the east and west can expect to receive similar notifications in the coming months.

First up are 38 customers who live along Majors Path between Raynor and Pond roads in North Sea, where the authority is proposing a water main that it estimates would carry a $3,752 surcharge per customer. In Water Mill, a proposed main that would run along Water Mill-Towd, Edge of the Woods and Deerfield roads, as well as Deer Run, could add 93 customers to the system at a surcharge of $6,314 each. Along the Tuckahoe-North Sea border, a proposed water main on Sandy Hollow Road near Mountain Laurel Road could connect 34 homes to the system, with a $3,752 surcharge for each home. A fourth proposed main running along Millstone Road near Noyac Path in Noyac would involve 14 potential customers who would each pay a surcharge of $1,291, according to maps provided by the water company.

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For SCWA to ask for residents and SH Town to pay up front for this is a slap in the face.

Install the new water mains, and absorb the capital expense in the rate structure.


Why are we even discussing this? Is SCWA a PUBLIC utility?

By PBR (4956), Southampton on Jun 15, 12 7:53 PM
For those prices, no one will be "easily swayed!!! " Are they for real?????
By sandydog21 (195), Southampton on Jun 15, 12 10:10 PM
As someone who just paid more than $2,000 to replace a well pump, I for one am willing to listen.
By BigBlue (12), Water Mill on Jun 20, 12 12:11 PM