The aging and “neglected” infrastructure of the Riverhead water district will get an overhaul, Supervisor Sean Walter announced this week. He has assigned special projects manager David Cullen to work with water district superintendent Gary Pendzick to develop and implement an improvement plan to help meet the town’s ever-increasing public water demands, especially in the peak summer months.

 

The district has seen its demand for public water increase 600 percent over the past 25 years, according to Pendzick, who has been at the helm of the district during that period. It draws about 3 billion gallons from the aquifer each year, he said. About 60 percent of that is used for lawn irrigation, Pendzick said.

Increased demand means the district’s water reserves may be insufficient to meet residents’ needs on peak days, so four new wells and pump stations are in the works, Pendzick told RiverheadLOCAL. One is already under construction, another was approved at the last Town Board meeting, and two more are in the design and planning phase, he said. The district currently operates 13 wells throughout the town.

Infrastructure improvements are also being undertaken, since some of the wells and pump stations are more than 50 years old.

“For too long the Riverhead Water District has been neglected in the area of infrastructure improvements and the modernization of facilities, so much so, that we are in danger of not being able to keep up with the demand of our town’s water needs,” the supervisor said in a press release issued Monday.

 

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.