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Montauk coalition decries possible sewage plant at Hither Woods Preserve

D Ramey Logan
Wikimedia Commons

The Coalition for Hither Woods, a group of environmental organizations, is urging Suffolk County parks trustees to deny a proposed wastewater treatment plant in Montauk.

The plan would build the facility on 14 acres of the Hither Woods Preserve, which the Town of East Hampton hopes to gain in a land swap for 18.8 acres of undeveloped property. The land swap would put Hither Woods through a process known as parkland alienation.

John Turner, senior conservation policy advocate for Seatuck Environmental Association, said parkland alienation should only be considered “in the most significant and extraordinary of circumstances and we don't think those circumstances come close to being met with this particular proposal.”

Turner joined other coalition members at the county’s board of trustees meeting this month to speak out against the plan.

Nina Leonhardt, a board member for the Long Island Pine Barrens Society, said she is worried about what this could mean outside of Montauk.

“If we start alienating this piece of parkland, it could be a very dangerous precedent. Not just for Montauk, not just for Suffolk County, not just for Long Island, but for the whole state of New York,” Leonhardt said.

Leonhardt also said the facility’s location could lead to impurities in the drinking water system since the area is sensitive.

“They tried to sweeten the pot with a little land swap, but you still don’t place a sewage treatment plant where it's going to do the most damage,” Leonhardt said.

Jane Montalto is a former news intern at WSHU.