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New Castle To Get $16M In Sewer-Extension Funds

Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, pictured at a 2014 press conference.
Westchester County Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz, pictured at a 2014 press conference. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

NEW CASTLE, N.Y. -- Westchester County officials have voted to release $16 million in funds to help pay for a long-awaited sewer-expansion project for three northern New Castle neighborhoods.

The county's Board of Legislators voted 12-5 to release the funds at a meeting on Monday, records show. County Executive Rob Astorino signed the measure into law on Tuesday, officials confirmed.

The funds will help to pay for the extension of a sewer line that currently terminates in the Briarcliff Manor area near Route 100. The extension project calls for bringing sewers to Random Farms, Riverwoods and the Yeshiva Farm Settlement. The objective is to divert the sewage to a treatment plant in Yonkers, which would take it away from a part of the county that is close to a major portion of New York City's drinking-water supply.

Around 38,000 linear feet of piping and four pumping stations would be construction for the project, according to an announcement from the town.

The money will come from the East of Hudson Water Quality Investment Program Fund, which is used by the county and municipalities to help pay for wastewater-treatment measures. 

New Castle has been working to achieve sewage diversion since 1997, the town noted in its announcement. In 2011, the county approved adding the three New Castle neighborhoods into a sewer district.

"This was a critical step forward. So many people have worked to secure these funds, there are too many to name. But on behalf of the Town of New Castle, and especially the residents of Riverwoods, Yeshiva Farm & Random Farms," New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein said in a statement.

Greenstein thanked Board of Legislators Chairman Mike Kaplowitz - his district includes New Castle - along with current and former town officials for their work on the project over the years.

In an interview, Kaplowitz offered a simple reaction to the approvals.

"Hallelujah," he said.

New Castle will still need more funds for the project, as the cost is now $24 million to $26 million. The town plans on seeking more funds by applying to a state water-quality program.

Expansion of the current sewage infrastructure has been a point of contention for officials in Yonkers, who worry that more sewage being sent to the plant in their city will be in addition to odor problems. 

Not a single county legislator who represents Yonkers voted in favor of the measure.

The 2011 legislation that authorized adding the New Castle neighborhoods into the district was re-litigated at Monday's meeting by Legislator Ken Jenkins, video shows.

Jenkins, who is one of four legislators representing Yonkers, cited that a provision in the older legislation that barred releasing the funds until the design for phase 3 of an odor-remediation project for the sewage plant was completed. He argued that the benchmark has yet to be fullfiled, citing an update during a committee meeting from county Department of Environmental Facilities Commissioner Thomas Lauro.

Legislator MaryJane Shimsky, who chairs the board's infrastructure committee, disputed Jenkins' account of the meeting, adding that, according to Lauro's update design work for the third phase has already been. Bidding work for phases two and three is expected next work, Shimsky added.

Without directly refuting Shimsky's rebuttal, Jenkins argued that moving ahead with the funds was still too soon, citing the fact that phase two work hasn't been complete and noting that the original version of the 2011 legislation used the construction of phase three as the benchmark for releasing funds.

Kaplowitz, at the meeting, repeatedly vowed to stand by and invest in odor remediation for the Yonkers plant.

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