Progress with electricity and water quality proposals
Attention to environmental concerns is growing here, with some positive results. We are enthusiastic about a $100,000 study of an electric “microgrid” in East Hampton Town, which could provide clean power and better electrical service during outages. At the same time, PSEG-Long Island is reviewing proposals for load-reduction and renewable generation to deal with soaring summertime demand on the South Fork. One of the companies seeking a deal with the utility, Deepwater Wind, is pushing hard for an offshore turbine contract, something that deserves support if the numbers work.
Also moving along are several proposals regarding wastewater in the town. We have expressed doubt about certain aspects of a plan by an outside consultant for a treatment plant that somewhat inexplicably would serve downtown Montauk, for example, but other suggestions are worthwhile. One is to require improved septic systems in all new housing developments, which would cut down the nitrogen reaching ground and surface waters. A draft law setting a higher standard than allowed now by the Suffolk County Department of Health Services is expected soon.
Also taking place is a joint effort among the town, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Nature Conservancy to buy and return to nature low-lying house lots on Lazy Point. The money, nearly $10 million, will neutralize as many as 16 houses in a known floodplain, helping to reduce future demands for infrastructure improvements, such as raised roadways or bulkheads. The plan should be a model for other at-risk parts of town, where officials will be soon asked for erosion-control measures that will put traditional public passage along the beaches in jeopardy.
Read the complete Editorial in the East Hampton Star.