Stormwater runoff contaminated by fertilizers, pet waste, and other chemicals will soon have less of an impact on the health of Conscience Bay thanks to a treatment plan supported by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund.
The Environmental Protection Agency and Long Island Sound Study on Monday announced the Village of Old Field will receive a $200,000 grant for its "Conscience Bay Stormwater Treatment and Wetland Enhancement" project.
The project is one of 15 in New York being supported with $913,202 in funding in 2012 by the Long Island Sound Futures Fund. The Village of Old Field was among the largest grant winners; the total project cost is estimated at $474,000.
"It's really fabulous to see it getting funded," said Erin Brosnan, an ecologist with GEI, the consulting firm that helped design the project. "It's a great way for long-term success in working with the property owners and the entire community."
The project calls for the installation of 35 underground infiltration units, which will be connected to four curbside catch basins and four bioswales designed to prevent the polluted stormwater runoff from going directly into Conscience Bay. Brosnan described a bioswale as a vegetated depression where stormwater sits, in which the plants take up some of the nutrients and the water works its way into the ground instead of going directly into the bay.
Currently, Conscience Bay is listed as a "significant coastal fish and wildlife habitat" by the state, but is considered an impaired waterway by the EPA. Brosnan said half of it is closed to shellfishing for the entire year and public bathing is limited. The village estimates the system will treat about 194 million gallons of stormwater runoff per year.
According to village engineer Steve Hayduk, components of the project were introduced last fall when the village began a road improvement project.
When construction is complete, the village has said it will organize a public walkthrough and outreach campaign with "a focus on what a homeowner can do to reduce their nonpoint source pollution footprint."
The grant program combines public and private funding for projects that protect and restore the waters and associated habitats, coming from organizations such as the EPA, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Deparment of Agriculture, Wells Fargo, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Old Field previously received a $60,000 grant from the organization to mitigate road flooding.
Read more about the village's grant here.