Costs of the
Montauk Sewer Project
According to the July 2022 H2M report, establishing a sewer system in Downtown Montauk, while building a sewage treatment plant (STP) in Hither Woods at a reduced capacity of up to 300,000 gallons per day of sewage treatment, will cost approximately $75 million. This would easily be the largest public works project ever undertaken by Town government in the history of East Hampton Town.
H2M says that East Hampton’s ability to finance the sewer system and STP will be highly dependent on grant subsidies. Remember that H2M’s $75 million capital cost estimate (to year 2030) is only for Phase I (Downtown Montauk sewers). Extending the sewer system to the Montauk Docks, or to Ditch Plains, as the Town Board evidently wants to do, would come at an additional cost.
It seems from H2M’s report that the $75 million capital cost estimate does not cover the full build-out of the STP. Page 6 of the H2M report says initial STP development is intended to accommodate an average daily flow (ADF) of 300,000 gallons of sewage wastewater. That is ~57% of the current estimated ADF for the projected four sewerage areas: Downtown Montauk, Montauk Firehouse area, Montauk Docks, and Ditch Plains. H2M has estimated the present ADF of these four areas at 530,000 gallons per day.
Private properties within the sewer district will incur their own costs to connect (and stay connected) to the sewer system. For those property owners in the gravity-flow portion of the sewer system, they will have to pay to install lateral piping on their own property, plus grease traps and ejector pumps (where applicable). Businesses along the low-pressure sewer main on South Elmwood (mainly motels) will have to install lateral piping on their own property, plus at least one low-pressure pump station on each property. Operation and maintenance of this equipment will be the responsibility of the individual property owner, not the sewer district.
H2M recommends that the Town Board consider hiring a licensed company to run the new sewer system on a contract basis. Regardless, though, H2M believes the Town should hire its own superintendent of the sewer system “to perform managerial functions required to oversee the sewer district,” and should ultimately create a new sewage treatment plant department within Town government. Vehicles and other equipment are recommended to be purchased for use by the new department. H2M has estimated the annual cost of this new Town department at $2,850,000.
Who will own the sewage system, the STP, and all improvements? The Town of East Hampton will be the owner. Although there will be a sewer district for purposes of computing and reimbursing the initial capital cost, all of the infrastructure will be owned by the Town. The costs of operating and maintaining the Montauk sewer system are ultimately the responsibility of all Town taxpayers excluding those in the incorporated villages of East Hampton and Sag Harbor. This is mandated by New York Town Law § 209-Q (12).
To be clear, East Hampton Town can charge the users of the sewer system, in order to recoup operating costs, and presumably the Town will do this. But
at the end of the day the Town (and thus its residents outside any incorporated villages) will own the sewer system and the STP and will be responsible for their costs and operation.
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