YORKTOWN, N.Y. – The Town Board last month approved two resolutions and adjourned action on another in connection with its plans to expand the Hallocks Mill Sewer District.
The board has been moving toward that expansion in an effort to meet New York City’s directive to reduce phosphorous in stormwater runoff entering its drinking water at the Croton Reservoir. Under the first phase of the project, the engineering department is proceeding with work to tie homes that rely on septic systems into the municipal system. This $14.3 million phase covers 315 parcels: 220 in the Birch Street Sub-Area, 69 parcels in the Sparkle Lake Sub-Area and 26 parcels in the Sunrise Street Sub-Area.
The town anticipates receiving a $10 million grant from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection’s Watershed Improvement Fund for the work, and one of the resolutions unanimously approved at the board’s meeting on Tuesday, July 16, authorized the submission of a grant application for the unfunded portion of the first phase, $4.3 million.
According to the resolution, if the application for the grant is awarded, the town would receive $1.72 million and would be responsible for the balance under a 60 percent match.
The board also favored a resolution to remediate leaking underground fuel tanks at two pump stations serving Hallocks Mill.
According to Town Engineer Michael Quinn, the leaking fuel tanks—one at the Jefferson Park Pump Station on Juniper Drive and the other at the Jefferson Valley Pump Station at Poplar Court and Forest Drive—were discovered during excavation work.
“Upon further investigation, there was some contaminated soil, which was dug out of the ground and stockpiled on site,” Quinn said. “We’re looking to remove the contaminated material that’s stockpiled on the site.”
In response to questions from the board, Quinn said the fuel was petroleum-based, “so it hasn’t migrated off the site.”
When the contamination was discovered, Quinn said, the engineering department had two options: leave it in place undisturbed and reroute the trenching or “identify all of it and get rid of it.”
“And we made that policy decision,” he said. “We’d rather clean the site.”
Under further questioning, Quinn estimated up to 60 tons of material needed to be removed, or “two dump trucks.”
He suggested the department could install test wells along the property line to ensure the contamination has been contained once it is removed.
The board approved a transfer of $45,000 from the sewer fund for the work.
But a third resolution, one to hire professional engineers Tighe & Bond to prepare a Flow Management Plan in response to “much higher than normal” flows within the district and Yorktown Heights Wastewater Treatment Plant, struck a sour note with Councilwoman Alice Roker.
Quinn said the “sustained wet weather conditions for many months” was reflected in the higher flow levels, which had reached 95 percent of the town’s permitted flow of 1.5 million gallons a day. While town officials have met with state DEP representatives to discuss increasing the treatment flow level to 2.5 million gallons a day, the town needs to develop an infiltration inflow study as well as a compliance plan to meet new phosphorous discharge limits (from 0.2 mg/L to 0.1 mg/L) and a “temperature action limit” of 70 degrees, which the resolution states the town exceeds during the summer.
As to the variance, Quinn said, “Until we start seeing our flows subside over time, we’re going to need that increase sooner rather than later.”
Quinn said Tighe & Bond “really specialize in treatment plant flows in the 1 to 3 million gallons-per-day range; they have operations experience” and were recently hired to investigate cracks in some of the tank walls.
“We asked them for a proposal to help with the DEP variance,” he said. “I just felt like the numbers that this firm was offering was the best value for the town.”
“Can I see a copy of the numbers you got from other firms?” Roker asked.
When Quinn said he had a proposal from another firm, she said, “So you got proposals from two firms.”
“What is the usual course of conduct for getting proposals” for professional services, Town Supervisor Ilan Gilbert asked.
The policy is to seek three proposals for professional services above $15,000, he was told. The resolution to hire Tighe & Bond noted they would be held to an amount of $14,300 for their work.
“I don’t think we’re doing it appropriately,” Roker said, adding that she hadn’t known the item would be on that evening’s agenda. Indicating that she had problems with the resolution, she told her colleagues to vote if they wanted to; she would vote against it.
Told by Quinn the matter could be held for a week, the board then agreed to adjourn action on it.