I write this letter the day before the Town Board is scheduled to address a resolution on groundwater monitoring for Sebonack Golf Club. I appreciate that Town Board members are recognizing the importance of water quality protection and accountability.
The same focus and requirements for groundwater monitoring should be applied to the Southampton Tennis Club and Camp, on Little Fresh Pond.
This camp has been operating since summer 2012; we have seen the water quality in Little Fresh Pond get progressively worse during summer seasons in the past few years as camp attendance and their infrastructure have grown.
The human and waste impact of this camp business is over 1,000 percent greater than the impact of all of the homes around the lake combined (based on numbers provided in the camp’s application to the town). Water quality monitoring should start now, before camp season begins, in order to establish a baseline; monitoring should continue through the summer and into fall.
The U.S. Geological Survey maps show that in this area of North Sea groundwater flows to the north (demonstrated on maps of the Peconic Estuary watershed, where the camp is located). When questioned, the USGS professionals explained that as wastewater is leached through buried septic systems, it enters the groundwater system and flows north in the direction of Peconic Bay. Little Fresh Pond is the first outlet, sitting north of the camp, and is fed by this groundwater, as are water wells for private homes.
Using the Groundwater Monitoring Plan and Agreement for Sebonack Golf Course as a model, the camp property owner should be responsible for the cost of monitoring and remediation procedures. In addition: 1) remediation procedures shall be formalized during site plan review process; 2) all costs for this review shall be borne by the applicant; 3) monitoring commitments shall be outlined as project commitments as part of the site plan conditions; and 4) any remediation necessary shall be borne by the responsible party/property owner.
We ask our elected and appointed town officials to enact a groundwater monitoring plan and agreement for the Southampton Tennis Club and Camp, as their site plan is being resubmitted. Groundwater monitoring should have been done years ago, as soon as this site started operating more than a tennis camp for members’ children.
We cannot sit back and let more recreational waters degrade due to overdevelopment and apparent negligence.
Larissa PotapchukNorth Sea Ms. Potapchuk is a volunteer member of the Surfrider Foundation’s Blue Water Task Force—Ed.
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