Presents A Danger - 27 East

Letters

Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1672789

Presents A Danger

I write with urgency on the future of our area and with strong conviction in saving all of the water bodies within the Peconic Estuary watershed. The Planning Board must reopen the SEQRA review for the large commercial development on Little Fresh Pond, aka the “day camp.”

Since the prior SEQRA submission, which resulted in a split vote by the Planning Board, there have been material and significant changes regarding harmful and toxic blue-green algal blooms in Little Fresh Pond. This new condition is bolstered with expert opinions and analysis stating that groundwater flows north from the camp into the pond, and continuing north.

Over the past few summers, the day camp business has been fully operating, with over 500 people at the camp site all day long, and over 60 overnight counselors all summer long, on the edge of Little Fresh Pond. There is little doubt that this recent toxic bloom is related to the large commercial camp operation, which generates more than sufficient nitrogen, phosphates and other pollutants to cause toxic algal blooms.

Everyone should know that this day camp operates with a septic system with leaching cesspools that are obsolete by today’s standards, and drain down into the groundwater; this current system is overburdened and stressed all summer long by the volume of waste generated by the campers, counselors, employees, food preparation and cleaning performed to commercial standards.

Before final approval is given to the camp’s site plan, comprehensive requirements for the mitigation and eradication of nitrogen, human-based gastrointestinal bacteria, phosphates, and industrial chemicals leaching into the groundwater must be addressed.

At this point, Little Fresh Pond is the “canary in the coal mine” on overdevelopment on the East End. The quality of this water body, previously clean for decades under the watchful oversight of neighbors, is under assault. Through groundwater flow, this and every other body of water north to Peconic Bay will be affected.

As a commercial facility, the camp must be held to the Suffolk County standards for wastewater management. Everyone should be concerned about the worsening of water quality and the pushback by the camp’s legal counsel on doing the right thing for wastewater management; their septic management should not be “grandfathered” and antiquated, it should be state-of-the-art.

Without a modern system, Little Fresh Pond will the “Love Canal” of North Sea. This is a clear and present danger to the people who live here, utilize home wells for their drinking water, and use the pond for recreation, swimming and fishing.

Failure to resolve this problem will become a notorious blight on the reputation of the town, the Planning Board and the zoning board for years to come and for all to see.

Frank Kalamajka

North Sea

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