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October 28, 1999

Contact: Geoff Ryan (718/595-5371)

Brewster and New York City Sign Agreement For Expanded Wastewater Treatment

Commissioner Joel A. Miele Sr., P.E., of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and Mayor John Cesar of the Village of Brewster announced today that the Village and the City had signed an Agreement in Principle setting out the terms of a transaction that will provide for the Village to take ownership of the City's wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) in return for the City paying the cost of upgrading the plant and expanding the sewerage infrastructure to serve the entire Village. "This is a win-win arrangement for the City and the Village," said Commissioner Miele. "From DEP's point of view, the old facility will be upgraded to the high standards of the watershed regulations; old and failing septic systems will be taken out of service; all buildings within the Village will be connected to a brand new wastewater collection system and modern treatment facility; DEP scientists will be able to perform analyses in a modern laboratory; and, most importantly, the new wastewater infrastructure will improve water quality in the East Branch of the Croton River and the Diverting Reservoir.›

"Given the history of failed septics in the Village, DEP will consider a variance under the watershed regulations to allow for an expanded plant that would alleviate related water quality problems," said Mayor Cesar. "With this agreement, the City will fund a major expansion of the wastewater infrastructure. The results will be that economic revitalization within the Village will not be stymied by lack of adequate wastewater treatment facilities and that many Village property owners will be relieved of worries about repairing and replacing their defective septic systems. While the Village will own and maintain the sewer system and the WWTP, the City will also contribute annually up to $350,000 towards its operation and maintenance. Additionally, the City will deed an existing parking lot to the Village for a new parking garage that will serve Main Street in the Village, and will be equipped with stormwater controls in accordance with the watershed regulations. DEP will also grant a permit for passive recreational uses on two other City-owned lots."

The Village of Brewster in southeastern Putnam County has an estimated population of 1,600. Only a portion of the Village is served by the City's Brewster WWTP, with the remainder of the Village utilizing septics systems. It has been estimated that some 39% of the septics are in failure, often as a result of poor soils and fractured bedrock in their drainage areas. DEP's monitoring data at the East Branch of the Croton River, which discharges into the Diverting Reservoir below Brewster, indicates that a high number of these systems may not be functioning properly. The Agreement In Principle is intended to memorialize the basic terms of the understanding reached between the Village and the City with regard to the future of the Brewster plant. These terms will form the basis of a more formal, binding legal agreement which the Village and the City will immediately begin to prepare. The basic terms, as reflected in the Agreement In Principle, may be summarized as follows:

The Village is to receive up to $15.2 million to design and construct a sewer collection system for the entire Village and a new wastewater treatment plant that will be built to the standards established in the watershed regulations. The plant would be increased in size to take the additional flow from the failed septics. An additional $1 million will be set aside in a capital replacement fund to pay for replacement of capital equipment when it reaches the end of its useful life.

  • A new laboratory is to be included in the facility, which will allow DEP scientists to continue performing the tests and analyses presently done at the existing Brewster WWTP.
  • The Village is to assume ownership of, and the responsibility for operating and maintaining the sewer system and the WWTP. The Village is to be responsible for the first $50,000 annually for operation and maintenance (O& M); DEP is to be responsible for up to the next $350,000 in annual O&M costs (with certain adjustments to account for inflation). Any additional O&M costs will be the responsibility of the Village.
  • Ownership of a City-owned parcel, where the Village presently operates a parking lot will be transferred to Brewster for construction of a parking garage with an advanced storm water pollution prevention system. The existing lot has no storm water controls, and runoff after rains can flow into a nearby stream that feeds into the East Branch of the Croton River.
  • The Village is to receive a DEP permit for use of two City-owned lots as park land for passive recreation.

In addition to the wastewater treatment infrastructure agreement, Commissioner Miele and Mayor Cesar also announced two other projects scheduled for the Village of Brewster. The City will pay up to $1 million to the Village for the installation of sewer lines along Marvin Avenue that will be connected to the upgraded WWTP. Additionally, the City will pay the Village as much as $625,000 to make improvements to the stormwater pollution prevention infrastructure in the Village. This will involve evaluation of stormwater needs, the formation of a stormwater district, and the construction of stormwater projects within the newly-established district. Both of these infrastructure improvement projects are part of the Croton Consent Decree that also requires the City to design and construct a filtration facility for water from its Croton Water Supply System.


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