December 13, 2006

Stormwater Runoff Revisited

It's an issue critical to keeping our waters clean.

Southampton Town Building Project Coordinator Walter Bundy came before the town board at their work session on Friday to give an update on Southampton's flood mitigation plan and a stormwater management update.

According to Bundy, the town's flood mitigation plan was adopted in 1996 and will be replaced by a new town all-hazard plan. The process is expected to last two years; the town is currently going out for requests for proposals.

Pending the implementation of the all-hazard plan, said Bundy, the Federal Emergency Management Administration requires an update of the current plan so that those living in flood zones can receive credits on their insurance policies.

The new all-hazard plan, said Bundy, will include events such as tsunamis and tornadoes.

The board agreed to adopt a resolution yesterday and send the updated plan to FEMA.

Next, Bundy and the board discussed phase II of a federal plan, currently in year three of a five-year program.

According to Southampton Town Supervisor Skip Heaney, the board adopted by referendum a local clean water bond act in 1993.

The town used the act as a basis for stormwater runoff control, which deals with sources of pollution such as water running off driveways, front lawns and empty fields and making its way to a road.

"Then it's channelized and many of the roads lead to road endings that are on our bay," said Heaney. "The idea was to capture a lot of what they call first flush, pollutants that are picked up when rain begins. The process would then remove pollutants from the surface of the road by putting the fluid into catch basins where the natural processes of moving water through soil cleanses the water and removes the pollutants before they reach the surface waters of our bays and our ponds."

One facet of the plan aims to reduce the total fecal coliform count, which comes from dogs, cats and insects.

Part of the update, said Heaney, included a discussion of Southampton's compliance with federal requirements, including that the town designate and delineate every outflow pipe and the full system of catch basins. The goal is to show that "we are taking positive steps to control runoff before it reaches the surface waters of our bays and ponds."

Although Bundy suggested hiring another engineer to handle some of the work involved in documenting stormwater runoff information, Heaney recommended taking advantage of the presence of Stony Brook at Southampton and allowing a student intern to take part in a credit-earning program during the summer as they worked with the town to gather that information.

"I think like a businessman; I don't think like a bureaucrat," said Heaney.

The supervisor asked his staff to arrange a meeting with Stony Brook at Southampton's interim dean to discuss how such an internship program might be developed in relation to the town's stormwater runoff program.

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