Renaissance Downtown's redevelopment plan for Riverside includes mixed-use buildings along Flanders Road.

Southampton Town aims to have the Riverside sewer district enacted by the end of the year, town officials told residents at a community economic development committee meeting last month.

Once the district is formally established, the town will be able to issue construction bid requests in the winter/spring of 2023, with a goal of beginning construction in the spring/summer next year, Southampton Planning and Development Administrator Janice Scherer said during the May 16 meeting at the Crohan Center in Flanders.

The wastewater treatment plant is essential to the implementation of the Riverside Action Plan, a revitalization plan adopted by the Southampton Town Board in 2015 and codified in a zoning overlay district that same year, that calls for high-density mixed-use development in portions of the hamlet.

The wastewater treatment plant proposed by the town will be capable of handling an 800,000-gallon flow, but the town plans to build it in two phases of 400,000 gallons each, Scherer said. The State Environmental Quality Review Act environmental assessment is being done for the full build-out, she said, noting that environmental review will not be segmented, which is prohibited by the statute.

The engineering firm Nelson, Pope & Voorhis is designing and developing the facility, which is estimated will carry a $35 million price tag.

Southampton Town has lined up no-interest, 30-year financing from the Environmental Facilities Corporation. The project is on the EFC’s annual plan for borrowing the construction costs, Southampton Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone said.

“EFC has been a really great partner,” Scherer said.

The town engaged a value engineering firm, paid for by EFC, to look at the town’s plan and make recommendations. The town is now working on a supplemental environmental impact statement and making changes to the engineering report based on the value planing study, officials said.

Read value engineering report here.

The planned sewage treatment plant is a sequencing batch reactor facility that will treat wastewater and remove nitrogen. It will require four pump stations to collect and pump wastewater to the plant, to be located on a site within the industrial park off Flanders Road. The effluent would be discharged to constructed wetlands of about 3.7 acres in size, proposed to be built on a dredge spoil site near the Peconic River.

Officials are working to figure out the best strategy for hookups to the treatment facility — the trickiest part of the process because the plant needs a certain minimum flow to operate as well as a critical mass of properties to share the costs of operation. Most of the development to be served by the facility is not yet built — and cannot be built until the plant is online.

“So that’s what we’ve been actively doing — looking at the map to figure out who’s most likely to go right now,” Scherer said.

The town would like to first connect projects on town-owned parcels and Renaissance Downtown parcels, as well as the two mobile home parks within the proposed district. Community Preservation Fund money would be available to the park owners to connect to the system. The homes in the parks have individual cesspools, and getting them in the treatment system is important from an environmental standpoint as well as for capturing necessary flow for efficiency of treatment.

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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.