By ASHLEY HELMS
In order to improve the village’s river water quality as well as identify and fix infrastructure problems, the Village of Mamaroneck Board of Trustees voted to continue its contract with Arcadis.
An international company that provides services for infrastructure, water, environment and buildings, the village hired Arcadis a year ago to help identify sewer discharge issues and line sewer pipes in order to prevent leaking into rivers, and eventually, into Long Island Sound.
This ties directly into recent water quality concerns, including the sewer line breaks at the Jefferson Avenue construction site and at Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club.
When the continuation of the program was passed by a unanimous vote at the Oct. 14 Board of Trustees meeting, Village Manager Richard Slingerland said the village has made good progress towards improving sewer pipes and preventing future leaks.
The second phase of the program will continue for another three to six months, but will likely finish in the spring of 2014. Testing will stop in December when the water and ground freezes because it changes the amount of bacteria in the water and testing won’t yield the most accurate results, Slingerland said.
Arcadis will be paid $104,000 for its work.
The village manager also said that an annual study conducted for the next three to five years is being considered. A longer study would identify certain sewers that may have problems as well as which areas are running efficiently.
Mamaroneck’s river quality was the topic of discussion at another meeting on Oct. 14. During the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Local Summit meeting at the Nautilus Diner, representatives from the state Department of Environmental Conservation, the Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities, non-profit environmental group Save the Sound and Village Manager Slingerland conducted a panel focusing on issues that the Long Island Sound is facing in and around Mamaroneck.
One of the main issues identified by the panel was hypoxia, which is when a body of water has such a low level of dissolved oxygen that marine life can’t survive.
This is caused by pathogens entering the sound from leaks at treatment plants and aging infrastructure, according to Patrick Ferracane of the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The area of the sound off the coast of Mamaroneck remains the hardest hit by hypoxia in the Sound Shore area, he said.
Regarding Arcadis, Trustee Leon Potok, a Democrat, asked if the project can identify where some of the most necessary areas for stormwater pipe relining are located.
Slingerland said relining is usually reserved for sewers and lining other pipes most likely will not be necessary.
“Typically, you don’t line storm drains,” he said.
The village is not anticipating receiving fees from the owners of locations that are found to have broken sewer lines, Slingerland said, but there will be a violation process in which an order to remedy would be issued with a violation or summons to follow if repair work hadn’t been done.
“There’s really no major ability to have daily fines that would reap any revenue to the village; we want to see corrective action,” Slingerland said.
Arcadis will be expected to contact village administration if they find an issue. The village manager said, at that point, a village worker would be sent to the site to find the source of the problem in order to take action. As Arcadis tests, reports will be submitted to the village on at least a quarterly basis.
Water quality became a contentious issue in the village this year after an underground sewer pipe was accidentally broken at the site of the Jefferson Avenue Bridge construction project in March that caused three million gallons of raw sewage to leak into the Mamaroneck River and, eventually, into the Long Island Sound, according to a letter from the Department of Environmental Conservation. The village was subsequently fined by the DEC for the leak.
Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club, located at 555 South Barry Ave., was the site of a second sewer line break. Non-profit environmental group Save the Sound conducted bacteria testing in the Mamaroneck Harbor in July that led to the discovery of the broken pipe.