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East Hampton Town Board Members Divided On Future of Scavenger Waste Plant

Publication: The East Hampton Press
By Rohma Abbas   Feb 14, 2012 5:50 PM
Feb 14, 2012 6:09 PM

A rift on the East Hampton Town Board over the future of the town’s waste scavenger plant widened this week as board members continued to deliberate on a proposal to privatize the facility.

About eight community members weighed in on the proposal by East End Processing Corp., which is affiliated with the western Suffolk County-based company Clear Flo Technologies, Inc. They overwhelmingly asked the board not to rush to a decision on whether to enter into a contract with the company.

The proposal, which could be a 30-year contract with the town, lists a number of options for the site, ranging from having the company rent the facility from the town or buy the property in its entirety for $300,000. It also includes the option for the company to improve the facility.

The plant, which pumps treated septage into the ground, was shut down last month. It is being used as a transfer station, where waste brought in from carriers is carted off to points west. It was shut down in light of a number of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation violations that spanned February 2008 and March 2011.

Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley said they felt the scavenger waste plant should continue to operate, but should not be run by the town. Mr. Wilkinson said he didn’t want to be “held hostage” by the limitations of having less than a handful of scavenger waste plants in a few communities across Long Island, should the town’s operation be capped or shut down.

“Several times I hear the word urgency,” he said. “I think we’ve been kicking this around for 18 months maybe. I’ve been fairly clear up to this point that I think we need a facility in town to treat our waste.”

But board members Sylvia Overby, Peter Van Scoyoc and Dominick Stanzione said they didn’t want to rush into a contract with the company without exploring all the options. Mr. Stanzione said he would support considering keeping the facility as a transfer station, or shutting it down completely. Mr. Scoyoc and Ms. Overby said they wanted to know more about the environmental conditions on the site.

“I think privatizing the plant is the right instinct, however I think it’s not our only option,” said Mr. Stanzione, noting the board needs more time to explore other options. “The environmental issues associated with this plant are quite frankly unknown and are probably—probably—not good. We have to take that into consideration.”

Mr. Van Scoyoc also said that the company behind the proposal doesn’t really address another lingering issue at the side—odor.

“Their management plan is basically a complaint form and ‘[we] are going to manage it as best as we can given the nature of the site,’” he said.

The three board members also called for a more holistic approach to addressing the problem of wastewater and suggested working with other towns to create a regional approach to septic management.

Community members like Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister and Bob DeLuca, the president of the environmental organization the Group For the East End, cautioned the board to tread carefully with the proposal and also advocated for a regional approach toward wastewater management. Mr. McAllister questioned if the private sector “is really going to care as deeply” about the environmental issues and its effects on the community as the Town Board would if it were operating the plant.

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Very encouraging to see Stanzione start to act independently.
By tm (158), mtk on Feb 15, 12 11:04 AM
1 member liked this comment
Stanzione wants to shut the plant down from what I can tell. What is so independent about that? Closing the place seems to do nothing but benefit one or two haulers.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Feb 18, 12 9:04 PM
Privatizing the sewage processing plant is typical insane corporate thinking. Instead of people running the facility whose primary goal is rendering toxic waste innocuous, we would have management which seeks to maximize the bottom line. The effect of this in years to come will be enormous increases in cost justified by in-house opaque accounting backed by the threat of allowing waste to pollute the environment if financial demands are not met.

Wilkinson is slavishly attached to the ...more
By highhatsize (2182), East Quogue on Feb 15, 12 1:42 PM
2 members liked this comment
I do not want our ground and coastal waters to be “held hostage” by a for –profit private entity whose main responsibility is to its shareholders- and not to people of East Hampton or the waters that we cherish.
By dklughers (43), east Hampton on Feb 15, 12 2:22 PM
1 member liked this comment
There are few people that are a bigger part of the problem than the so called Bay Keeper, Kevin McCallister. I would caution folks against giving funds so they can be used to line the pockets of attorneys fighting the personal battles of a wayward lifeguard. In case you didn't notice, corporations are actually made up of people and there has never been a government or municipal entity that has ever shown it can do anything better than a for-profit, private entity. Period, end of story. The extensive ...more
By TianarRob (10), Southampton on Feb 15, 12 4:37 PM
"I would caution folks against giving funds so they can be used to line the pockets of attorneys fighting the personal battles of a wayward lifeguard." ??? Please explain. Anyway - for those of you commenting here who don't actually live and pay taxes in East Hampton - HHS - may I ask that you put out some FACTS regarding this issue vs. your stunning, oft-repeated political attack nonsense. Very tiring to keep hearing how privitization will sow benefits to "the rich getting richer" that will ...more
By Board Watcher (497), East Hampton on Feb 15, 12 9:15 PM
The water- that is the real issue here. Water. You can live without many things- but not without water. 120+ DEC violations, non-compliance with NYSDEC rules in 12 of the last 12 quarters. So far, no fines levied via the “over-site” of the DEC..... All our waters are connected-both underground and coastal-this affects all of us- whether or not interested people live in EH is irrelevant. It would be nice to look at this with a regional approach. What about the new SH Hospital site? Are ...more
By dklughers (43), east Hampton on Feb 16, 12 1:57 PM
Responsibility needs to be guaranteed.

Cause public harm, and you're out of business. No grey areas, no "allowable amounts" of pollution, zero. Screw up one iota, an you're not only toast, the cleanup is you, or your insurance company's liability, no on else's. Not the town, nor the "Superfund".
By Mr. Z (6486), North Sea on Feb 15, 12 9:50 PM
The company that wants to take over the facility may pursue a major modification to the SPEDES permit . A major modification means a daily volume increase in the flow of more than 50% of the current daily average permitted discharge (as per the oneRFP response ). This would necessitate trucking in waste from outside town lines. Increased septage input = increased effluent INTO our GROUNDWATER. The effluent in not innocuous. The potential new SPEDES permit holder also would like to LOWER the current ...more
By dklughers (43), east Hampton on Feb 16, 12 2:04 AM
I know, Ms. Klughers, that clean water is "priceless' - and I'm not being facetious, but what's missing in ALL of this is a true cost analysis from the Dems for each "alternative". Do you have one handy?
By Board Watcher (497), East Hampton on Feb 16, 12 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Last thing we need to do is make this a political issue. Many of my Dem and Repub friends, particularly those who live in the Springs area with children, are equally against selling the facility without scrutinizing all aspects of a potential agreement and alternatives. This is not an oops I screwed up situation. Absolutely no reason to rush this. If it costs money in the meantime so be it.
By harbor (105), East Hampton on Feb 16, 12 2:37 PM
I'm not the one making this a political issue, Harbor, and I never said "sell". It seems to me that was ONE POSSIBILITY, and that some are unwilling to go forward until???? when?? I like davebud's thoughtful question, and I'm asking a serious question also that the posters here don't seem to have an answer to. If "what" costs money in the meantime - re-opening and dumping more "effluence" into the ground? What are you talking about? And how much money for whatever "non-solution" are you talking ...more
By Board Watcher (497), East Hampton on Feb 16, 12 3:28 PM
If you visit a site called Oilgae, you would definitely find some interesting ways of dealing with wastewater.
By Mr. Z (6486), North Sea on Feb 16, 12 7:14 PM
Give them time and perhaps they can come up with alternatives. They have been in office ~6 weeks. They were given the response to the RFP on a Monday afternoon and were expected to have a decision the following morning. Why was that? And no, I don’t have a cost benefit analysis handy- but neither does the Board--Do you have one handy? Perhaps you can pass it to your friends at town hall and they might share it with the public. The Budget Officer has a draft of something that few have seen- ...more
By dklughers (43), east Hampton on Feb 17, 12 11:41 AM
Clearly this is a major issue having significant long term financial and environmental consequences for all the Town residents. Currently the scavenger waste plant is operating only as a Transfer Station, storing and consolidating loads until they can be transported westward in a more efficient manner than if the Transfer Station did not exist at all. Presumably all the acavenger waste is now being transferred to the Riverhead Town municpal facility. Although possibly not the best permanent solution, ...more
By davbud (73), east hampton on Feb 16, 12 12:13 PM
The title of the article says it all... "East Hampton Town Board Divided On Future" not only the future of the Scavenger Waste Plant, but on the future of anything . Obsolete and incompetent; And a systemically corrupt system of government equals wasted $$$$$.
By rrc1049 (61), Bridgehampton on Feb 16, 12 12:16 PM
Oh, that's a helpful comment. What are you suggesting, that we embrace anarchy?
By davbud (73), east hampton on Feb 16, 12 1:21 PM
Not anarchy - Both Southampton and East Hamton should hire professional town managers who would report to a board of elected citizens. Many of these issues are technical in nature and cannot be adequately addressed by untrained, inexperienced amateurs, however well meaning and sometimes even intelligent they may be.
By Sag (45), Sag harbor on Feb 16, 12 3:46 PM
Yes Anarchy! Its about time someone else come up with the only solution that is left. I presume board watcher won't understand this post. With me being a SH Town voter and she being an EH Town Voter we are worlds apart. I mean, in East Hampton they apparently turn something into a political issue and then claim they didn't turn this into a political issue. She probably also thinks she didn't turn this into a youthful class warfare issue either. Pfft. Whose watching the Board Watcher? Me. ...more
By TianarRob (10), Southampton on Feb 16, 12 4:17 PM
Regarding that phrase, she does have a valid point. In the last thirty years, "middle class" salaries have increased at an average rate of .04% per annum. That's right, a fraction of 1%. Neo-Liberal "free market" "trickle down" economics does not work, and is the root of current levels of socioeconomic disparity, and caused the recent economic meltdown with it's laissez-faire approach to regulation, and oversight. The only thing that trickled down, was an vast increase in the cost of living...

I ...more
By Mr. Z (6486), North Sea on Feb 16, 12 7:11 PM
Somehow I think that if you were as big a genius as you think you are, you would have been discovered by now. Recent economic meltdown? Things have never been better...don't you watch PMSNBC? And thank you, had you sided with the reasoned approach we would have gotten concerned. Hope I'm around to see you hit 3000 nonsensical remarks.
By Spankerstein (6), Southampton on Feb 17, 12 6:21 AM
You mean, the economy is working with real, hard asset backed currency again?

Oh, wait, that's right...

We went off the gold standard in 1971.

Feb 20, 12 6:52 PM appended by Mr. Z
And for reference, I've never characterized myself as more than "possibly above average". I only rated in at 131...
By Mr. Z (6486), North Sea on Feb 20, 12 6:52 PM
The fact that the sewage treatment facility has been ineptly run by the Town to date is no reason for precipitously leasing it out to a private corporation. Corporate governance is hardly the panacea for municipal ills nothwithstanding Wilkinson's committed advocacy. For a BAD outcome to a corporate takeover of a municipal function, see the expense to motorists that resulted from Chicago Parking Meters, LLC taking over the city of Chicago's parking meters. This is an attempt by Wilkinson to PERMANENTLY ...more
By highhatsize (2182), East Quogue on Feb 17, 12 6:35 PM
For the past 10 years the plant was run by a private entity, not the Town of EH. The town paid the company almost 80G per month to operate the plant. The SPEDES permit belongs to the town- which is why the violations went to the town, and not the company.
By dklughers (43), east Hampton on Feb 18, 12 11:29 PM
I don't know how to break it to you highhat but you are going to have to scrub your cutting and pasting from the Atlantic Monthly. The example of what you call a Bad outcome to a corporate takeover of a municpal function is what us thinking folks call a silver platter. Let me serve you. What you cited is a better example of what happens when a corrupt president from Chicago who is propped up by a corrupt Mayor from Chicago runs a deal whereby the corrupt President gives massive amounts of tax ...more
By Unbelievable. (2), Southampton on Feb 18, 12 6:56 AM
to Unbelievable:

Dear me. I cited the Chicago Parking Meters, LLC takeover as an example of a case where a corporation took over a municipal function and the outcome was BAD for the residents. I take it that you agree with me (in contrast to the correspondent who said that private corporations ALWAYS were better at any job than a public entity.)

Yes, the lease to Chicago Parking Meters, LLC was stupid, possibly corrupt and will last for seventy-five years, long after former ...more
By highhatsize (2182), East Quogue on Feb 18, 12 1:08 PM
You do realize that the transaction was backed by an SWF, soveriegn wealth fund, backed by oil wealth, correct?

The deal was brokered by Citibank, as I recall. Yep, that's right, the control of Chicago's streets has been sold to foreign interests.

At least the PA legislature killed the turnpike deal. Yes, pick up your jaw from the floor. The PA Turnpike was "for sale". They even had a nice Powerpoint presentation...
Feb 20, 12 6:56 PM appended by Mr. Z
Citigroup brought in Abu Dhabi...
By Mr. Z (6486), North Sea on Feb 20, 12 6:56 PM
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