Greenport's scavenger waste treatment plant, vacant and overgrown with weeds for about a decade, is scheduled for demolition beginning next month.
Southold Town Board members approved a resolution on Sept. 7 to pay Bayshore-based D.F. Stone Contracting $673,498 to remove the Moores Lane plant, built in the 1990s to treat "scavenger" waste dumped from pump trucks.
At the time of the plant's construction, said Southold Town Engineer Jamie Richter, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation had tightened regulations on older septic systems.
"Some older systems would fail, so until they could be replaced, pumper trucks had to come pump out the septic," Richter said. "The scavenger facility was a place to take that waste and dump it in a legal fashion before it was piped into the village sewage treatment plant."
But the scavenger facility, Richter said, was "never fully functional."
"Whether it was lack of maintenance or lack of funds, it just stopped functioning the way it was supposed to," he said.
As a result of this failure, high levels of nitrogen appeared in the village's treated sewage water over time, and the Department of Environmental Conservation cited the scavenger facility.
The Town leased the property from Greenport Village to construct the plant – and that agreement also required the Town to dismantle it when it "retired from use," said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.
"We are simply keeping the commitment made by our predecessors," he said. "It is time to just simply get it done."
According to Richter, years-worth of considering ideas on how restore the functionality of the waste plant — or how to reuse the existing buildings for something else, such as a facility for restaurants to recycle used cooking grease — delayed the Town's decision to tear it down.
Richter said he hopes the company starts the demolition process within the next few weeks.
"Then they have 120 days to do the job, but I'm sure they'll want to be out of there before the frost," he said.
Greenport Mayor David Nyce said that he and village trustees are waiting for the demolition to be complete before making plans for the property.
"The process has taken so long, we're just waiting until the site is cleared," he said. "At that point we'll RFP [request for proposal] some ideas."