Local officials said a $5 million state grant to convert private septic tanks for businesses on Plandome Road in Manhasset to a public sewer system will provide environmental and economic advantages.
Concerns about the cost of maintenance for private septic tanks have been expressed by businesses along Plandome Road, with some claiming pumps have to be examined on a weekly basis. Some have also said they pay more than $500,000 a year to maintain their systems.
Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti (D-Manorhaven), an advocate for the funding to be included in the state budget, said she hopes the funding will revitalize the business district and provide the area with more environmental protection.
Sillitti said the money is secured under the Department of Environmental Conservation portion of the state’s budget.
Town of North Hempstead Supervisor Jennifer DeSena said she was pleased to see the funds allocated and that, hopefully, the grant will reduce some financial hardships for business owners on Plandome Road.
“I pledged that the town would prioritize investments in critical infrastructure in 2022 and beyond during my recent State of the Town Address,” DeSena said in a statement. “A town must maintain its critical infrastructure, and for too long, our roads and sewers have taken a back seat to other competing interests and have been neglected. The situation with our residents and businesses on Plandome Road is a prime example of the need for change.”
Councilwoman Veronica Lurvey said she also hopes to continue working with stakeholders as the project to connect the Plandome Manor sewers to the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District’s system progresses.
“On behalf of the town, I want to sincerely thank Assemblywoman Gina Sillitti for securing a grant to help connect Plandome Road to a sewer system,” Lurvey said. “Moving to sewers makes clear sense. It helps alleviate the burden on residents and commercial establishments and will be a help to Manhasset’s downtown. It is also better for the environment.”
Connecting new sewers on Plandome Road to the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District’s system would cost roughly $12 million to serve around 80 Plandome Road businesses and building owners, according to a 2020 feasibility study conducted by Cameron Engineering.
Robert Donno, a committee member of the Manhasset Chamber of Commerce, previously said that environmental concerns about Manhasset Bay were a factor in businesses wanting to place sewers along Plandome Road.
“This is first and foremost an environmental project,” Donno said during an informational Zoom webinar last year. “Nitrates are built up in Manhasset Bay, and then Manhasset Bay has lost its beauty and it’s basically polluted … My family’s been residents since the 1900s. My parents were born and raised in Manhasset. When they were kids, they used to actually swim in Manhasset Bay. Anybody who has ever been down to the bay now knows that that’s not going to happen today. It’s a shame; we’ve wasted an asset.”
Great Neck Water Pollution Control District Superintendent Christopher Murphy said installing a low-pressure sewer system is the most cost-effective approach in this scenario and allows for sewage to be effectively treated to help preserve the environment.