Save the Sound has been testing the waterways of the Mamaroneck Harbor watershed, which includes all the waters of the Village of Mamaroneck (VOM), for the past two years. Our data documents bacteria contamination hot spots in Mamaroneck Harbor, Mamaroneck River, Beaver Swamp Brook and Guion Creek. New York State DEC has placed the Harbor and Mamaroneck River on an EPA list as polluted for bacteria and floatable debris, along with the Sheldrake River (they have not assessed Beaver Swamp Brook).
We recently summarized Save the Sound and New York State’s findings, and presented them along with specific recommended actions that the Village administration can take right away to improve local water quality.
At a meeting of the VOM Committee for the Environment on December 3, Save the Sound’s Director of Western Long Island Sound Programs, Tracy Brown, reviewed the two most pressing water quality challenges facing the Village:
1) Widespread bacterial pollution coming from the local wastewater infrastructure and stormwater runoff.
2) An overabundance of water in the wastewater system that causes raw sewage overflows in wet weather and legal compliance problems with the Westchester County Sewer Act.
Save the Sound strongly recommends the Village of Mamaroneck take the following actions –
- Establish a Private Sewer Lateral Program to incentivize the inspection and repair of private sewer laterals in the Village. This program would include a financing mechanism to spread out the cost of repairs making them more affordable to homeowners.
- Track down and eliminate the sources of bacterial contamination at already identified hot spots in Beaver Swamp Brook, Guion Creek and Mamaroneck Harbor because pollution from rivers and streams contribute to beach closures and present a public health risk.
- Create a reliable local funding source dedicated to wastewater infrastructure maintenance and upgrades such as a Sewer Use Fee. This will save the Village money by investing in maintenance instead of costly repairs.
Following up on that meeting, Save the Sound wrote to the Mayor, Village Manager, and Trustees documenting the water quality issues and restating our recommended actions with additional information on each. Our letter to the Village resulted in an invitation to attend a board work session on January 20 for further discussion.
We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Village of Mamaroneck and its citizens to improve water quality around the Village and beyond! Stay tuned for more information on this initiative.
Posted by Tracy Brown, Director of Western Long Island Sound Programs for Save the Sound