Frequently Asked Questions – Phase II Sewer Project
1. WHAT IS A SEWER SYSTEM?
A sewer system is a system of sewage collection mains, laterals, pumping stations and related items that carry and deliver wastewater from buildings to a local wastewater treatment plant. Once properties are connected to a sewer system, property owners are required to decommission their septic systems or cesspools located on their property.
2. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF SEWER SERVICE?
Sewers provide a safer and cleaner environment for you and your neighbors, as well as for the drinking water supply. Often property values increase when a reliable sewer system is in place. In addition, the current risk of septic system failure and large repair/replacement expense is eliminated.
3. WHY IS KATONAH NOT ALREADY SEWERED?
The Town of Bedford considered installing a sewer system for the Town for the first time a century ago! Over the decades, plans to sewer Katonah have been defeated because of cost and concern about overdevelopment. Sewering today is possible because of government funding, zoning laws, and capacity limitations which preclude overdevelopment.
4. WHAT IS PHASE I OF THE SEWER PROJECT IN BEDFORD?
The Town of Bedford will be acquiring the wastewater treatment plant in Bedford Hills from the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Currently, the Town is installing sewer mains that will bring wastewater to the plant from the Katonah and Bedford Hills business districts, as well as from Katonah Elementary School, St. Mary’s School and Rectory in Katonah, Bedford Park Apartments in Bedford Hills, and some municipal properties. Phase I is scheduled to be completed mid-2021.
5. WHY IS THERE A PHASE II OF THE SEWER PROJECT?
The Town has received funding commitments to sewer service in portions of Bedford Hills and Katonah. This expansion involves increasing the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant to bring sewers to additional properties.
6. WHAT IS THE AREA OF PHASE II?
Phase II proposes a new sewer district for the purpose of installing of sewer lines to serve the Bedford Lake apartments and Lakeside at Bedford condominiums in Bedford Hills (where a wastewater treatment plant will be decommissioned), ten properties on Railroad Avenue in Bedford Hills, and eighty-nine residential properties in Katonah, as shown on the attached map. The new sewer lines would be connected to the Phase I sewer system.
7. HOW WILL PHASE II BE FUNDED?
Over 98% of the costs of the project are provide by non-Town sources, including New York City and the Westchester County East of Hudson Water Quality Improvement Program. The remaining funds, $175,000, would be borrowed by the Town and will be repaid only by property owners within the Phase II sewer district. Adequate funds will exist to complete the project, including a reasonable contingency. To obtain this level of outside funding is a unique opportunity for the Katonah residential section at this time.
8. WILL MY TAXES GO UP DUE TO GETTING SEWER SERVICE?
The existence of a sewer system serving your property will not result in an increase in the assessed value of your property, but you will be required to pay sewer rents currently estimated to be $550 to $700 per year.
9. DO PROPERTY OWNERS THAT WILL NOT RECEIVE SEWER SERVICE PAY FOR THE PROJECT?
No, only property owners served by the Phase II sewer district would pay for the project.
10. WHAT IS THE TIMELINE FOR COMPLETION?
There are a number of State, County, and Town approvals that must be granted before construction of the Phase II sewer district can begin. In addition, a vote by the property owners in the proposed district, including the 89 residential property owners in Katonah, will be required to move the project forward. The Town is working diligently to expedite the process so that the system will become operational as soon as possible. Currently, construction is estimated to begin in early 2022 and to be completed mid-2023.
11. WHY WAS THIS NEIGHBORHOOD IN KATONAH SELECTED?
This Katonah neighborhood adjoins Phase I sewer mains. Also the neighborhood was identified because it is upstream from and in close proximity to the NYC Muscoot Reservoir, a New York City water supply reservoir (see aerial photo). The neighborhood includes small properties with many cesspools and frequently failing septic systems without room for septic expansion.
12. DO I HAVE TO JOIN THE SEWER DISTRICT?
If the majority of property owners in the district vote in favor of the sewer district in the referendum planned for the fall, then yes, you will be required to hook up to the sewer.
13. WHO GETS TO VOTE IN THE REFERENDUM?
Only the property owners within the Phase II sewer district have voting authority.
14. HOW MUCH WILL I PAY FOR THE HOOKUP?
The sewer line will be brought to within five feet of your house, the cost of which will be borne by the overall funding of the project. The property owner is then responsible for a one-time cost of connecting the sewer line to the plumbing of the house and decommissioning the septic system. This cost is estimated to be approximately $5000. The actual cost will vary based on several factors, including existing plumbing configuration and the elevation of your property compared to the road. If you would like to discuss the factors that may come into your specific connection costs, feel free to reach out to Kevin Winn, Commissioner of Public Works 241-2458. It is anticipated that you will not incur costs until 2022 or 2023. (Please note that with most sewer installations the property owner is responsible for the cost of bringing the sewer line from the street at a cost of approximately $15,000.)
15. WHAT IF I REFUSE TO ALLOW THE CONTRACTOR TO DIG UP MY PROPERTY?
Property owners will be asked to sign a right of way easement to allow the construction company to access their property to construct the sewer lines up to five feet within the hook up location. If property owners do not choose to sign this agreement, they will be responsible for full cost from the property line to hook up.
16. HOW DO I DECOMMISSION MY OLD SEPTIC SYSTEM OR CESSPOOL?
New York State and Westchester County Departments of Health have specific guidelines for decommissioning existing septic systems. Those guidelines are posted on the Town website https://bedfordny.gov/departments/planning/sewer-plan/. Local excavation contractors can perform this work.
17. HOW MUCH WILL I PAY FOR SEWER SERVICE?
We estimate a yearly cost to the average Phase II homeowner in Katonah of $550 to $700 per year.
18. I AM NOT IN THE SEWER DISTRICT INDENTIFIED FOR PHASE II, BUT I LIVE NEARBY. MAY I HOOK UP?
The Town Board may consider the possibility of connecting residents outside the Phase II sewer district who have cesspools or failing septic systems. The terms applying to out-of-district property owners may differ from those applying to in-district property owners. The sewer plant capacity will still be a limiting factor.
19. WILL THE SEWERS BRING LARGE SCALE DEVELOPMENT TO OUR TOWN?
No. The regulations imposed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection severely limit the capacity of the sewer plant. Additionally only a small increment above the estimated effluent flow from the Phase II properties is permitted. The Town’s zoning laws and planning policies are also designed to protect the character of our town and will still be in effect following installation of the sewers for Phase I and Phase II.
20. WHAT IS BEING DONE TO LIMIT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS FROM THE PROJECT, SUCH AS DUST AND RUNOFF?
Construction must comply with a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) approved by New York City Department of Environmental Protection (NYCDEP). The plan requires the installation of filters at catch basins and silt fences as needed to limit sediment transport during rain events. The contractor will also provide dust control through sweeping and spray water operations.
21. WHERE CAN I LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS PROJECT?
Information is posted on the Town’s website at www.bedfordny.gov (go to Departments–>Planning–>“Proposed Bedford Hills-Katonah Business Sewer District.”). If you have questions you may contact Supervisor Chris Burdick at firstname.lastname@example.org or 666-6530 or the Town’s Commissioner of Public Works, Kevin Winn at email@example.com or 241-2458.