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Forge River Watershed Sewer Project Breaks Ground

On Thursday, Jan. 27, Suffolk County celebrated the groundbreaking of the Forge River Watershed Sewer project on Long Island, New York, marking the start of a $224 million initiative that will expand access to sewer systems in Suffolk County. 


The new sewer district will include a wastewater treatment plant that will serve residents and businesses in nearby Mastic-Shirley. This project also includes individual sewer connections and a new conveyance system for approximately 1,900 parcels. This new infrastructure will replace existing septic systems that have been identified as the primary source of the nitrogen that is polluting the Forge River, marshlands, and the local bay. 


“Superstorm Sandy exposed the need to further protect our coastline communities on Long Island from the impact of climate change,” Governor Hochul said. “Today’s groundbreaking marks a significant milestone in our ongoing efforts to build resiliency.”  


Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, said, "This is just the beginning. This infrastructure is necessary to protect our communities, expand the economy and protect water quality.”  


The Forge River Watershed Sewer Districts’ boundaries extend from just west of the William Floyd Parkway, east to the Forge River, and just south of Sunrise Highway; on the north to Poospatuck Creek and to the south, not including the Poospatuck Indian Reservation.  The project is expected to be completed in 2026. 


Project Design Team to Begin Property Visits

In November 2018, field technicians visited and collected information about every residential home in the project area. Residents were asked to complete "Property Owner Questionnaire."

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Voters Overwhelmingly Approve New Sewer District in Mastic-Shirley

By a vote of 414 to 71, voters approved a referendum to create a new sewer district in the Mastic-Shirley area, paving the way for the Forge River Watershed Sewer Project, which is designed to bring economic development and environmental improvements to the region.  

As a result, preliminary design and engineering work will continue on Phases 1 and 2 of the project, and creates the possibility of Phases 3 and 4, once funded, to be built in the future.  Phases 1 and 2 include about 1,900 homes and about 150 commercial properties, which are located mainly along the Montauk Highway business corridor between the Forge River and just west of the William Floyd Parkway.


The 6-1 margin in favor of the district means that some $168 million in one-time FEMA funding can be utilized for project construction. 


Open House Updates Residents on Sewer Referendum

With the public referendum on the sewer project fast approaching, more than 100 residents attended two open houses to learn more about the January 22, 2019 vote.   If the question passes, the Forge River Watershed Sewer District will be established; a sewer district must be created in order for the sewer project to continue.  A highlight of the January 8 event at Mastic Fire House was the display of a typical six-foot grinder pump unit, which will be installed at residential and commercial properties.

Project Design Team to Begin Property Visits 

Starting in November 2018, field technicians will be visiting and collecting information about every residential home in the project area. About one week before our technicians will visit your property, you will receive a door hanger to notify you of this visit. Inside the door hanger packet, you will find instruction on how to fill out the property owner questionnaire form. Homeowners are encouraged to fill out the questionnaire form before field technician come around to your property.

Specifically, our technician needs to locate existing utilities (water lines, electrical lines, etc.) that service your property; locate your existing on-lot sewage disposal systems, and take photos of the exterior of the property. 


Our personnel will be wearing visible identification and will identify themselves and the purpose of their visit. We appreciate your cooperation in allowing the field technicians to enter your property to complete this important part of the design work.


Community Members Come Out for New Information Meetings 

As the design process for the project continues, dozens of residents attended a series of follow up informational meetings on September 20, 2018.  Questions about property owner costs and benefits of sewers were high on the list of topics raised by residents.  Many residents also had questions about the scheduled January 22, 2019 public referendum, which will determine if a new sewer district will be formed so that the project can move forward.  Another topic of discussion was visits to homes in Phases 1 and 2 by design team members who are gathering more information needed to plan out the project. (For more specifics, see a handout from the September 20, 2018 meetings.)

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Local Businesses Discuss Sewer System with Project Team 

Business operators and commercial property owners turned out on September 10, 2018 to hear more about the Forge River Watershed Sewer Project and what it means to them.  (See a Q&A on commercial properties.)  The 90-minute session was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics and Shirley and focused on potential economic benefits and increased property values that are possible with this project.  Businesses also learned more about the costs they will be responsible for.  For example, while all construction, material and equipment costs associated with the project’s infrastructure are covered by Federal funding, commercial properties will be responsible for costs associated with hooking up from their buildings to the sewer main in the street.  

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Hundreds of Residents Attend Public Information Sessions 

More than 200 Mastic community members turned out to learn about the latest developments on the Forge River Watershed Sewer Project.  Two public information sessions at the Mastic Road firehouse on May 16, 2018 included more than a dozen experts from New York State, Suffolk County and Gannett Fleming, the sewer system’s engineering and design team.  Residents learned about system design, costs and estimated timeline and asked dozens of questions about this vital project.  Much of the discussion focused on the need for the community to support formation of a new sewer district in Mastic which will make it possible for more than $167 million in approved Federal funds to be used for construction.   

Public Hearing Held in Mastic on Draft Environmental Study

Dozens of residents attended a Public Hearing on May 22, 2018 on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the Forge River Watershed Project.  Many residents testified in support of the project, which would be a major step toward cleaning up our rivers, bays and underground water in the Mastic area.  The hearing was held by the New York State Governor's Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR), which prepared the DEIS and was seeking the public's comments on the report. Comments on the DEIS will be accepted by GOSR through June 1, 2018.  (See flyer with complete information on how to view the document and to provide comments via e-mail, telephone and U.S. mail.)      


Sewer Project Engineering and Design Continues 

Mastic-Shirley elected officials, community leaders, residents and others have participated in discussions on solving the problem of water pollution in this area.  These discussions led to the creation of a 2013 sewer feasibility study, followed by a county water resource management plan in 2015, which called for a comprehensive approach to building sewers. Now, the Forge River Watershed Sewer Project is moving into the first phase of engineering and design of the sewer system and advanced wastewater treatment facility.  Surveyors, engineers and other design professionals are beginning to review the project area to determine how to design and build this project. As part of their work, members of this team will be visiting every block and, eventually, every home and business in the project area.  In early 2018, the engineering team will be inviting community members to public meetings at which further details of this process will be discussed.   

Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) Published

Independent of the engineering activities now taking place is an ongoing required environmental review process to comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (or SEQRA) and the Natural Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  The study is led by Federal Emergency Management Agency and The Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.  Many community members have participated in this process by attending scoping sessions and providing comments on the project.  A draft environmental impact statement was published in May 2018 and a public hearing at which stakeholders may comment is scheduled for May 22, 2018 at the Mastic Fire Department. 

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