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Westhampton Beach sewage upgrade could help restaurants provide outdoor seating

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Luke Jones
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Flickr

The Village of Westhampton Beach on Long Island received a pair of grants to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. A $3.3 million grant would upgrade a sewer connection downtown that’s eco-friendly and could help the local economy.

The improvements would allow restaurants nearby to have outdoor seating, which they couldn’t do last summer during the pandemic without a sewer connection.

The grants from New York State Regional Economic Development Council are for improvements at a Suffolk County-owned wastewater treatment plant at Francis S. Gabreski Airport. The village is currently in the process of building a $11.1 million collection and conveyance system that will connect to the plant.

The grant will be used for the project’s second phase, which will cost $4.8 million. Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore told Newsday that the construction of the wastewater collection system is the first phase of the project and is expected to be finished this summer.

The second phase will include modifying the treatment process at the Gabreski site with new and updated sewer treatment technology. The upgrades might be complete by the end of the year. The system accommodates 60,000 gallons of wastewater from the village daily.

The village estimates that connecting the business district to sewer would eliminate 5,000 pounds of nitrogen that enters village waterways each year, reducing wastewater pollution by 24%.

Another grant for $250,000 was awarded to the village in late December from Suffolk County’s water quality protection program, which will go toward the plant upgrades.

Suffolk County still must approve the plans for the plant upgrades, after which the village would put the second phase work out to bid. Village and county officials will be meeting in the second week of January to discuss the plans.

Natalie Discenza is a Sacred Heart News Fellow at WSHU. She is a native of Syracuse, New York.