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Apr 11, 2018 12:40 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Water Authority Will Rethink Amagansett Storage Tank Plans After Objections From Neighbors

Renderings of the location and appearance of a 900,000 gallon water storage tank the Suffolk County Water Authority storage wants to erect on a property off Cross HIghway in Amagansett.  Courtesy Suffolk County Water Authority
Apr 17, 2018 5:06 PM

Officials from the Suffolk County Water Authority said that they will be going back to the drawing board with plans for a 900,000-gallon water storage tank after residents of Amagansett, and their attorney, bombarded engineers with objections to the project at a public discussion last week.

“We are going back and do some more analysis, and I imagine we will be looking at other sites,” SCWA chief engineer Tim Kilcommons told a small group of residents in the basement of the Amagansett Library last Wednesday evening, April 11.

The SCWA has proposed constructing a 30-foot-high circular water storage tank, 90 feet in diameter, on the 2.5-acre lot it owns on Cross Highway, near Cranberry Hole Road.

Engineers for the water provider explained to residents that the site in Amagansett is almost perfectly located to be able to help boost water pressure to a broad region during times of peak water use—primarily in the wee hours of summer mornings when residential irrigation systems are churning.

At times, Mr. Kilcommons said, the pressure levels the SCWA’s current pumps and booster tanks can produce has come close to the minimum safety levels needed to be able to provide water pressure at fire hydrants in the event of a fire.

Placing additional storage tanks—the SCWA has 65 throughout the county—at a larger property the authority owns off Spring Close Highway that already hosts a large storage tank would not deliver the desired additional boost, because pressure is lost over distance.

The engineers said they had already made concessions in the tank’s design, like not elevating it, in deference to impacts on the surrounding neighborhood. Suggestions by residents of burying the tank, or at least locating it in a lower area of the property, were dismissed as hydrologically impractical.

The residents who attended the meeting were mostly from among the 14 homeowners that the water authority had notified by mail of its plans, and a few others who had either been called by neighbors or had noticed a legal advertisement run by the SCWA in the East Hampton Star—a public notice effort that seemed intended to keep knowledge of the project limited, they said.

“If that’s your level of outreach, it’s pathetic,” said Tom Heed, a neighbor of the SCWA property.

An attorney hired by some of the residents, Steve Latham, condemned the water authority’s approach to the project without bringing it to East Hampton Town planning staff or town regulatory boards for an assessment in light of town zoning laws—invoking other recent projects by PSEG that had been approached the same way and sparked outrage from residents.

The authority officials said that they had determined that the project met the standards for a crucial service by a public utility, exempting it from local zoning laws. Mr. Latham said that the town, not the authority itself, should have been the agency to decide that.

“Any applicant would like to be judge and jury on whether their project gets approved,” Mr. Latham quipped. “If you want to go ahead and say you satisfied the requirements … you are going to lose in court.”

Mr. Latham also pointed out that a deed for the property, inked in 1967 for the Amagansett Water Company, which was later purchased by the SCWA, specified that the property was to be used for well pumps only and that any water storage facilities should be no more than 10 feet in height.

That revelation gave the SCWA officials pause, and they said they would need to take another look at their approach. But they also reiterated that their options were few.

“We’ll see if there is an adjustment that can be made,” added the authority’s deputy CEO, Joe Pokorny. “There aren’t that many sites and this … is uniquely situated as an ideal site. But you charged us tonight to see what we can do to minimize the impact.”

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First they dig wells and install the pumps to remove Amagansett water for Montauk.

Now a 900,000 gal storage tank. They had these plans from beginning.

BIGGER question is how much water should they be allowed to pump out of the aquifer.

All the homes around pump house and the planned tank have wells. What is the long term impact on the their wells?
By Amagansett Voter (48), Amagansett on Apr 11, 18 2:45 PM
Ration the amagansett water, only for certain hours. They don't need permission to put it in, it's a courtesy. Do you like water?
Shelter Island doesn't want a sub station for electric, but want more power??? How about GREEN WINDMILLS???
By knitter (1579), Southampton on Apr 11, 18 5:39 PM
1 member liked this comment
It seems there are Deed restrictions that run with the land, which the SCWA was going to try to simply ignore. Arrogant or just stupid. Probably the prior owner wanted to eliminate any possibility of SCWA erecting a humongous eyesore. David Buda
By davbud (116), east hampton on Apr 17, 18 1:13 PM
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