Welcome, 2023! We are thrilled to kick off another year of work to help protect Montauk’s environment.

This month’s newsletter focuses on an important and timely topic - the Montauk wastewater treatment plan. There’s an urgent need to employ all tools available to address the contamination imposed by failing and outdated septic systems.

 CCOM has done much to help property owners to replace their antiquated cesspools and septic systems with innovative alternative (IA) systems that remove nitrogen. However, because there remain key areas in Montauk where IA systems do not work - due to limited space and high groundwater tables - the Town is advancing the concept of constructing a wastewater treatment facility. This is the largest infrastructure project ever to be proposed for Montauk so it cannot be taken lightly. CCOM wants to ensure that our community has access to the best information currently available. Please read our position on this plan.

Laura Tooman | President
East Hampton Town created the Montauk Wastewater Committee in October 2018. The committee has been tasked with advising the town on the feasibility of creating a wastewater treatment district and a centralized sewage treatment system. CCOM President Laura Tooman sits on the Committee along with other Montauk stakeholders and representatives.

The current committee members are as follows (in alphabetical order):
Steve Baumgarten, Dan Cahill, David Ceva, Lou Cortese, Leo Daunt , George Filopoulos, Tom Flight, Andrew Harris, Brian Harris, Steve Kalimnios, Paul Monte, David Rutkowski, Laura Tooman, Dick White.

Ex Officio:
Mark Abramson, Jeremy Samuelson, Eric Schantz, Kim Shaw, Mellissa Winslow

Liaison: EH Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc
Failing wastewater infrastructure jeopardizes water quality by discharging under-treated sewage into local waterways and the ocean.

Sewage can contain bacteria, viruses and parasites that put human health at risk. Sewage discharges also pollute waterways with excess nutrients that wreak havoc on coastal ecosystems by fueling harmful algal blooms (HABs). HABs can produce cyanotoxins that have been linked to acute poisoning of humans, pets, and wildlife.

The challenges to creating a successful wastewater infrastructure in Montauk include a high groundwater table, flood risk, and lack of sufficient space.
The Town has hired a consultant (H2M) to lead the charge in determining the feasibility of a treatment facility to treat wastewater generated from four priority areas: downtown, Ditch Plains, the docks, and the railroad area.

Because groups like CCOM have fought hard to protect and preserve land, over 70% of land in Montauk remains protected from development, meaning very few parcels exist that are large enough to meet the required criteria for siting such a facility.

Some things to be considered include:
  • proximity to homes and drinking water wells
  • groundwater tables
  • flood zones
  • underground utilities

This is why the Town has identified the potential option to construct a facility next to the current landfill on Suffolk County parkland; an action that would require 14 acres of parkland alienation, swapping it with a slightly larger 18.8 piece of land just acquired by the Town on East Lake Drive. If the Town were to pursue parkland alienation, the Suffolk County Parks Trustees, Suffolk County Legislature and New York State Legislature would have to approve. 

And once / if a treatment site has been selected, a map and plan would be drawn to be used to create a wastewater district boundary. Property owners in said service area would have to vote to create the district or not. Those within the wastewater district would be responsible for the annual operation and maintenance. The Town would like government grants to cover the majority of the construction of the facility. 

Additionally, a SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review) must be performed to determine what environmental impacts such a wastewater district would have, and to determine if other options are feasible or if there are other options that would have less of an environmental impact. 
We encourage everyone to view the following presentations and work that has been completed to date:

After clicking on the link above, please do the following:
  2. In the date box on the right side of the screen, type: 2022-12-13
  3. On the December 13, 2022 screen, scroll down and click on: "11:00 am  | East Hampton Town Board Work Session 12-13-2022"

Please note: The wastewater discussion begins at 47 minutes.

Do you love Montauk? Be part of an organization fighting to protect and restore Montauk’s precious environment!
CCOM is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit environmental organization. Thanks to our donors, we have been protecting Montauk's unique environment since 1970. Please consider making a 100% tax-deductible donation today.