Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor, October 28, 2022
Sewage Project and the Manor
For the editor:
Sylvester Manor commends the City’s ongoing efforts to improve water quality in the Center and their search for solutions to improve sewage systems for municipal buildings and the school, and the Island as a whole.
Shelter Island is unique among our neighboring communities in that the majority of households rely on private well service from a single-source aquifer.
Protecting the quality and quantity of this aquifer is of utmost importance to maintaining a vibrant community on Shelter Island.
In recent public meetings, the town council discussed a proposed municipal sewage treatment system which will be located on Manwaring Road opposite the windmill field at Sylvester Manor.
During a city council meeting on October 11, the city’s consulting engineer incorrectly claimed that
Sylvester Manor fully endorsed this project. This is not correct. While we continue to support the City’s efforts to find solutions, including the possibility of a wastewater treatment system that serves City buildings, we are unable to approve the project or site. currently offered at the moment.
On the contrary, we remain committed to studying this proposed project further and following the science wherever it leads.
We work closely with our own consulting engineer to assess the proposed project and its potential impacts on the neighbors of this proposed site, and we support a full environmental review as required by law.
We look forward to working collaboratively with the City, experts in the field and environmental advocates to improve the Centre’s water quality while addressing any impacts this project may have on our work to preserve and protect. Sylvester Manor and share this 236 acre historic property with the whole community.
STEPHEN AW SEARL, Executive Director, Sylvester Manor
A thought and a suggestion
For the editor:
Instead of contentious squabbles with NIMBY over where to install a sewage treatment facility and arguing over competing engineering proposals, why not really get creative?
We should consider involving the EPA, their engineers and grants and affiliated state and county entities in funding a system that recycles wastewater into usable water, even for drinking, that will protect and preserve our shrinking aquifer indefinitely.
The science, technology and practicality of this approach have been proven (see last week’s New York Times) and Shelter Island, being a closed system, is the perfect place to support a demonstration project.
It would have so many benefits, including providing relief to residents near Sound and Bay who, due to loss of water from the reservoir, are currently only getting saline in their taps.
I don’t want to underestimate the difficulties that such an undertaking could present, but we should all agree that Shelter Island being a unique, exceptional and remarkable place, we could probably achieve it.
JAMES WEBSTER, MD, Shelter Island