Dispute Over Water in North Haven

As of July 1, 2012 there will be no more water trucks filling up at hydrants alongside Route 114 in North Haven. Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) has rerouted those companies who had an access permit at those hydrants to others.

Earlier this month many North Haven village residents, including Village Mayor Laura Nolan, noted the circuitous traffic of landscaping and pool company trucks lining up and extracting water from the water mains that run alongside Route 114, only to leave the village without serving its residents.

“The trucks are not serving village residents,” Nolan said at a Village Board meeting earlier this month as reported in The Sag Harbor Express. “They’re loading up on water and delivering it elsewhere.”

She continued to say that she and village trustees have noticed “these large water trucks” filling up on Route 114 then taking the ferry to Shelter Island, where the water is not public.

“They’re not SCWA (Suffolk County Water Authority) trucks,” explained Tim Motz, a spokesman for the Suffolk County Water Authority, in a email last week. “They’re private trucks from landscaping companies, pool companies, and so forth that have paid for hydrant permits allowing them to access the water from that location.”

To appease the curious village residents and trustees, Nolan composed a letter of complaint to the Suffolk County Water Authority about the traffic nuisance that has perpetuated on the side of Route 114, exclaiming, “It’s all day long.”

At the meeting, as reported by The Sag Harbor Express, village trustee George Butts added, “The crux of the issue is that it’s a traffic hazard.”

“The mayor reached out to us about this and we’re working with the village to resolve the issue,” responded Motz.

Motz informs that it is “common practice for local, small companies to pay for a hydrant permit to allow their company trucks to access public water from public hydrants,” although Motz did not confirm that these companies prefer to use SCWA water over Shelter Island water, which is well water.

Incidentally, SCWA’s water was graded as being one of the purest and cleanest public water systems in the country.

However, based on the procedures of accessing water from a public hydrant, it would seem easier to fill a truck from a hydrant than to figure out an arrangement on the island to get a large amount of water from someone’s private well.

Some village residents pointed out that some trucks take up nearly the whole road, more than one lane, making it very difficult to safely pass by.

“It’s an issue here, I think, because 114 is the one big road in North Haven. We can understand why it would be frustrating to have your main artery constantly clogged by trucks, if that is indeed the case, so we’re happy to work with the village on a solution,” informed Motz.

In other water news relevant to Southampton, the Suffolk County Water Authority identified seven possible locations in the township for expansion. SCWA plans on campaigning heavily in those areas to bring in more customers.

According to the water authority’s research, approximately “32,000 of the Town’s residential parcels, only 18,000 are SCWA customers. The remaining 14,000 use private wells,” according to Motz.

Homeowners living in certain areas of Water Mill, Tuckahoe, North Sea, and Noyac can expect to receive letters from SCWA within the next few weeks asking if they are interested in connecting to the public water supply,” informs the spokesman. Residents living in other areas such as, parts of Northampton, Riverside, Westhampton, Shinnecock Hills, and eastern factions of the town like Sagaponack and Sag Harbor can expect similar notices within the next few months.

The cost to subscribers cannot be determined at this time by the SCWA, as the authority is not sure how many residents may sign on.

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