Residents of Yorktown will have an opportunity to learn more about the proposed Hallocks Mill Sewer Extension project this month.
The town is holding an informational meeting in the Nutrition Room of the Albert A. Capellini Community and Cultural Center for residents to obtain information on the proposed extension project at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18.
“For years there have been attempts by prior supervisors to get the Hallocks Mill area sewered up and get people off of the septic. That’s probably our biggest area where we have a need to get people off of septic,” Supervisor Ilan Gilbert said.
Currently, there are 1,400 parcels in the area that are unable to connect to the sewer line, though they are still part of the Hallocks Mill Sewer District. The first phase of the project proposes a 5.5-mile extension that will allow additional residences to hook up to the Hallocks Mill sewer line.
In July 2018, an engineering report conducted by GHD Consulting Services Inc. identified 665 parcels that rely on septic systems in the district. These parcels are located in the areas of Carolina Road, Sparkle Lake, Sunrise Street, Broadview Drive, Birch Street and Ridge Street.
At a Town Board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 22, Town Engineer Michael Quinn identified 315 parcels that would benefit from the first phase of the project, though owners would have to contribute financially.
The project was estimated to cost $14.3 million with the town already securing $10 million in funding from the New York Department of Environmental Protection as part of their watershed agreement. Currently the money is being held by Westchester County; however, the funding comes with an expiration date.
According to Supervisor Ilan Gilbert, $50 million was put aside by the DEP and New York City to fund sewer projects in towns in the New York City watershed. A moratorium on new additions to the Yorktown Heights Water Pollution Control Plant, which treats wastewater from the Hallocks Mill Sewer District, was lifted just three years ago. Yorktown secured a commitment for $10 million about 20 years ago, but the money has yet to be secured and other towns are vying for the funds.
Gilbert said he was told by New York City and Westchester County officials that the grant requires some investment by the town, as well.
“The only way you’re going to get your $10 million is if you have some skin in the game, so to speak,” Gilbert said. “They don’t want the town to get off completely and not pay any of the financing.”
The remaining $4.3 million would be paid by the owners of the 315 parcels that will be able to benefit from the new sewer accessibility. According to the town, the individual homeowner cost per parcel/debt repayment would be in the range of $750 per year for a 30-year payback period, in addition to the cost of sewer hook-ups for individual properties. If a parcel owner decides to connect to the sewer, they will have to pay an annual sewer maintenance tax.
Gilbert said that this project will benefit homeowners in the long run, as septic replacements can cost up to $40,000 while hooking up to the sewer can cost only $5,000, and the project gives people that option.
The degradation of septics systems poses a major environmental hazard. Risks include contamination of the New York City Watershed.
A petition has been sent to the 315 eligible parcel owners have 60 days to respond yes or no to the project. The town needs 51 percent approval from the affected parcel owners to move forward with the project.
“If you choose not to hook up to the sewer, it still likely increases the property value of your house,” Gilbert said. “It’s worth it to vote yes to the project.”
The meeting will include a presentation on the numbers and the project itself. There will also be an option to vote on the proposal.