Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has announced that the Suffolk County Legislature is scheduled to approve a series of resolutions on Tuesday to advance the connection of 5,700 homes to sewers using more than $390 million in federal and state grant funding as part of a long-awaited project that is part of the State’s coastal resiliency plan in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
“Approval by the Legislature of resolutions accepting and appropriating grant funds for the Carlls River and Forge River sewer projects is historic, and is the culmination of years of hard work by the County’s water quality team, supported by environmental groups, organized labor, and the building trades,” said County Executive Bellone. “Tuesday will be a special day for the nearly 6,000 homeowners who have been waiting for years, and will now have their homes connected to sewers with all construction costs funded by grants.”
The Suffolk County Coastal Resiliency Initiative (SCCRI) sewer projects include an extension of County Sewer District No. 3 in Babylon, and the establishment of a new Forge River Sewer District in Mastic, both of which were overwhelmingly approved by voters in those project areas in 2019. The SCCRI project also includes the connection of 1,497 homes in Babylon and Islip that were already located in Sewer District No. 3 but had never been connected, to the sewer system.
Federal funding for the projects is being provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), and Community Development Block Grant – Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) program administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development, through the New York State Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR). FEMA approved construction funding for the projects on Friday.
Progress on the projects was slowed in early 2020 when stay-at-home orders enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of community meetings and construction bids opened during the height of the pandemic were higher than anticipated. In April, County Executive Bellone announced that the County would invest $100 million in new funding for water quality infrastructure to allow the projects to move forward.
“The County is especially grateful to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer for his strong advocacy and steadfast support, which has been critical in bringing these shovel-ready projects to the point of construction,” said County Executive Bellone. “Without Senator Schumer’s leadership, we would never have been able to bring these historic projects to fruition.”