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Source: Newsday

EPA cites Northport Village for violations

BY JENNIFER BARRIOS

Posted: August 24, 2011
Originally Published: August 23, 2011

The Village of Northport has been cited by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Water Act by failing to have adequate plans in place to manage stormwater and other discharges into Northport Harbor.

The agency found that the village did not "fully implement and develop" its stormwater management program, nor did it provide a detailed plan for detecting and eliminating the discharge of unallowed substances -- such as sewage and solids -- into Northport Harbor.

"The Storm Water Management Program was an unsatisfactory boilerplate with little detail," the EPA said in its report. Storm runoff becomes a problem because it often picks up debris, chemicals and other pollutants before flowing into a body of water.

EPA officials also found raw sewage in a stormwater pipe at Stanton Street and Bayview Avenue, as well as full catch basins and pipes in need of maintenance.

The agency issued its findings on July 25, about a month after EPA officials toured the village.

Northport has until Sept. 30 to create and enforce a stormwater management plan, and until Nov. 30 to create and enforce a plan to address non-stormwater discharges into the harbor. It also must conduct an audit of its municipal operations "to determine sources of pollutants" by Jan. 31.

"The village immediately began the cleanup of the identified areas of concern and will continue with the cleanup till completed," Mayor George Doll said in a statement Monday. He added that the "village is working with our stormwater consultant to comply with the directives by the dates called for."

Northport faces penalties of as much as $37,500 a day for each violation if it doesn't meet the deadlines.

The village also is planning to test the output from all of its outflow pipes as part of a state stormwater grant the village received, said Village Attorney Jim Matthews.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment and co-chairwoman of the Northport Harbor Water Quality Protection Committee, called the EPA's notice "extremely significant." The committee of government officials and environmental advocates focuses on improving the water quality of Northport Harbor.

"The village is supposed to be working with us in good faith to protect and clean up Northport Harbor, and all of these violations are not a good-faith effort," Esposito said.