Thursday, December 14, 2006

Spreading The Cost of the Sound Cleanup Throughout Westchester

If you think that people living in Tarrytown, say, on the Hudson River, would benefit if Long Island Sound were in better shape, then you’d be in favor of a proposal in Westchester County to spread the cost of nitrogen removal at the county’s four Sound shore plants among all of Westchester’s sewer districts. As it stands now, people in the district served by the plant in Mamaroneck, for example, pay all of the costs for improving the Mamaroneck plant. Ditto for the treatment plants in New Rochelle, Rye and Port Chester.

The county also has sewage plants in Yonkers, Ossining and Peekskill (like all the county treatment plants, they serve areas that are bigger than the municipalities they’re located in). The county Board of Legislators recently decided to spread operational costs for all seven plants among residents of all seven districts. The next step, if it’s approved, is to do the same for capital costs, which includes the nitrogen removal projects that are needed for the cleanup of Long Island Sound.

No one has said publicly how much those costs will be. The Journal News reports that there could be “potentially hundreds of millions of dollars worth of improvements.” Hundreds of millions of dollars covers a big range but from what I’m hearing, it’s accurate if you assume it won’t be in the low part of that range. Spreading the costs among more people might be the only way the county can afford it.



Anonymous Bryan said...

Boy, this issue sounds like a potential minefield. When does someone upstate without a LIS waterview (and a house price to match it) complain about subsidizing the the sewer rates of shoreline communities?

Also, why stop at sewer customers? Does it make sense for someone on a sewer line in Yonkers to subsidize Mamaroneck's expenses when someone in Bedford or Pound Ridge with on-site septic doesn't pay a dime? They both benefit to the same degree from the improvement to LIS, no? Why not a multistate sewage district to include CT?

Not taking sides, just trying to think it through, out loud.


10:26 AM  

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