Hardy Plumbing
December 21, 2011

Saving Topsoil With Stones In Southampton

Farmers in Deerfield may have a few stones in their boots this coming planting season.

Last Friday afternoon, the Southampton Town Board discussed ways to prevent stormwater runoff and flooding along Deerfield Road, specifically on the farms bordering Mill Pond in Water Mill.

The area surrounding Mill Pond has been a longstanding problem with regard to flooding, yet hasn't seen much action.

"We all know Mill Pond has a major issue," said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. "What's the culprit here? Is it septic issues? Whatever it is, we all see it and it's dramatic."

Christine Fetten, Director of Municipal Works and Town Engineer, was on hand to discuss the issue.

Fetten, along with Nancy Lenz from Cashin Associates, a Hauppaugue-based company specializing in engineering, construction, planning and environmental management, recommended the installation of field sedimentation traps. These traps would be small stones set at different intervals throughout, for example, a farm, to trap sediment and hinder the loss of topsoil during heavy rainfall. By using the sedimentation traps, topsoil cannot only be saved, but reused as well.

"This recommendation will help in fixing the problem structurally," Lenz said.

Fetten stressed that seasonal harvests are what may ultimately suffer if no action is taken.

"These are preliminary concepts and solutions," Fetten said. "But these types of issues will be encountered again and the farmers are the ones losing assets every time it rains."

Lenz and Fetten, along with Assistant Town Engineer John La Rosa and stormwater manager Michael Collins, urged the town board to take action in controlling the area's flooding and sediment runoff.

"The amount of sediment coming off with rainwater is significant," Lenz said.

Lenz said that an estimated 90 percent of rainfall equates to about 1.3 inches of sediment runoff.

"It's mostly topsoil that they're losing," she added.

To fix the problem and install the sedimentation traps would be "relatively inexpensive," according to Lenz, costing approximately $30 per linear foot. Each trap would be placed 20 feet apart and 3 feet deep. It was uncertain at the close of the discussion exactly how many traps would be installed.

Collins added that individual landowners could install the traps themselves, with most areas requiring them resting on private property.

Councilwoman Bridget Fleming expressed concern over the installation plan.

"When the field is not planted, you're adding to the asset (topsoil), but if the field is not planted then you're losing crops."

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