Legis. James Mazzarella (R-Mastic) recently joined with Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library president Joe Maiorana, trustee Joseph Furnari, and director Kerri Rosalia, along with deputy county executive Peter Scully and Suffolk County commissioner of economic development Sarah Lansdale, to present a $168,900 grant to be used to replace the existing wastewater system at the main branch of the library with a new Innovative/Alternative wastewater treatment system.
“Improving and preserving water quality is of critical importance to every resident in Suffolk County and across Long Island, and this grant will help us move forward with that goal,” said Mazzarella. “I want to thank my colleagues in the legislature and partners in Suffolk County government for making this possible.”
Mazzarella sponsored legislation that made this grant possible, and it will be utilized to replace the existing wastewater system at the main branch of the library on William Floyd Parkway with a new Innovative/Alternative wastewater treatment system. The funding will offset the cost of this new system for the taxpayers within the library district while replacing an outdated septic system with an environmentally friendly alternative that removes nitrogen from wastewater before it is discharged.
“The library is extremely appreciative of the continued support of Suffolk County,” said Maiorana. “Together with our municipal partners, the board of trustees and administration are committed to delivering library services in an environmentally friendly manner. I want to add a special thank you to former library trustee, Legis. Jim Mazzarella, for supporting our grant application.”
“We want to thank former library board president and Suffolk County Legis. Mazzarella for his ongoing support of the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library.” stated Rosalia. “Thank you to members of the legislature who voted to help fund our I/A system through this grant, helping to protect our water quality in the tri-hamlet community. Our library facilities will be more sustainable as a result of your support.”
Innovative/Alternative (IA) septic systems are designed to prevent excess nutrients such as nitrogen from entering aquifers, estuaries, and waterways. As the Mastics-Moriches-Shirley Community Library is located within a waterfront community situated on the Mastic/Shirley Peninsula, it is important to the library trustees that modern technology be utilized to make the main branch environmentally friendly. Enhanced IA septic system designs have shown great promise for removing much of the nitrogen in wastewater before it enters surrounding groundwater, and surface waters. Preliminary design for the new system to be installed is expected to reduce approximately 450 pounds per year of nitrogen loading into our groundwater. In addition to this, both the Mastic Beach Branch and the Moriches Branch have been built utilizing similar nitrogen reducing technology.
Grant funding is vital due to the high number of properties on the Mastic/Shirley Peninsula operating on cesspools, which do little to mitigate the flow of nitrogen into groundwater. In January 2019, residents of the community overwhelmingly approved the construction of the Forge River Watershed Sewer District.
In addition to this initiative, in 2020 the Suffolk County Legislature expanded the scope of the Water Quality Protection and Restoration Program to include the area known as the Forge River Watershed. This expansion made it possible for the library to apply for competitive environmental grants for clean water initiative projects such as these.
“Long Island is surrounded by water. We swim, surf, boat, and fish in it, aside from just simply enjoying being near it,” said Mazzarella. “We must all take responsibility to protect our drinking water and reduce pollution in our local waters to simply safeguard our way of life.”