Government: New Round of Water Quality Applications in Southampton, Dust Bowl in Amagansett

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Southampton Town Hall

New Round of CPF Water Quality Applications Being Accepted by Town

The Town of Southampton will accept applications for the second round of CPF Water Quality Improvement Projects through March 15, 2019, it announced in a press release issued this week.

The Water Quality Advisory Committee expects to receive applications ranging from storm water and drainage improvements to wastewater treatment and aquatic habitat restoration projects. The Town Board will hold public hearings for projects that exceed $50,000.00.

The funding source, up to an estimated $10 million per year to help restore water quality, will come from 20 percent of the annual 2 percent Community Preservation Fund transfer tax on properties that was approved by voters last year.

“This new and innovative use of CPF revenue will help broaden our solutions to the degradation of surface and groundwater throughout the Town in order to make real progress improving our water quality,” states Community Preservation Fund Program Manager Mary Wilson.

The application program will likely be conducted on an annual or biannual basis, in addition to the Town issuing Requests for Proposals for specific water quality projects and the ongoing Innovative/Alternative septic rebate program for property owners, said town officials in the release.

“We are working from every angle to encourage innovation and share our experiences with other Towns on Long Island and beyond that struggle with the same issues,” explained Janice Scherer, Assistant Town Planning Director.

For more information, visit southamptontownny.gov or contact Ms. Scherer at jscherer@southamptontownny.gov.

Top Soil Erosion Creates Dust Bowl Conditions in East Hampton

Several residents and business owners in Amagansett have approached the East Hampton Town Board about agricultural topsoil that has caked the hamlet in a fine, beige power — a situation some said could pose a threat to public health and is impacting local businesses as the fine particulates fill the air in large clouds of dust.

On Monday, East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc issued a statement about the situation — one he acknowledged is not just impacting residents of Amagansett but other parts of the town.

“The Town of East Hampton is investigating multiple locations where agricultural fields are suffering wind erosion of unsecured or improperly secured topsoil,” reads the statement from the town. “The wind-driven dust clouds emanating from these agricultural lands are a concern to private property owners, businesses and the Town as the dust poses health concerns, visibility issues and damage to public and private property alike.

“Our strong agricultural heritage is literally grounded in the use and protection of prime agricultural soils on agricultural land. The conditions of these improperly secured agricultural properties is unacceptable to the Town and the Town is investigating every avenue to have these property owners and farmers remedy the situation immediately without further damage to surrounding properties and loss of prime topsoil from agricultural lands.

“The Town will continue to monitor the properties at issue and will seek to require property owners and lessees of the properties to remedy the situation without further delay. The Town will work to develop a legal framework and policies to prevent similar issues in the future and to ensure that farmers are implementing best soil-management practices.”

Several residents attended Tuesday’s town board work to discuss the topsoil dust clouds, including Dan Mongan, an Amagansett resident speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees of the Amagansett Library.

“I think it is an accurate report of that meeting to say there is a great deal of concern in Amagansett,” said Mr. Mongan of a meeting Monday night of the Amagansett Citizens Advisory Committee where residents shared their concerns with Town Board members Jeffrey Bragman and David Lys.

“Parents in Amagansett school have told me the children taste dust in their mouth at recess,” he said. “I have a sixth grader in the school, so I asked her. She said, ‘Yeah, we can taste the dust.’”

That indicates to me the dust is being inhaled. Because of the fineness of the particle it is incontrovertible that that is a serious and significant risk to public health,” Mr. Mongan said, calling the situation an emergency that needs “immediate action.”

Mr. Mongan went on to read a letter from the library board, citing concerns of public health and also concerns over the ability for drivers to navigate the parking lot behind the library safely due to the dust clouds.

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