After negotiating modifications in the agreement and faced with the threat of fines of up to $25,000 a day, the Village of Pelham Manor Board voted Monday night (Aug. 17) to authorize the Village Manager to sign an Inter Municipal Agreement (IMA ) between the County of Westchester and the Village of Pelham Manor to mitigate excessive inflow and infiltration to the sewer system. The vote was unanimous.
Mayor Jennifer Monachino Lapey said Village Manager John Pierpont had been negotiating with the County and other parties of the IMA (Mamaroneck, Larchmont and New Rochelle) concerning clauses that were potential problems for the village. After taking office in April, the mayor and the new Village Attorney joined him in talks with County officials concerning what they considered the severity of the language when applied to a village the size of Pelham Manor.
"We are all in agreement that Long Island Sound is a gem of a resource and we want to be good environmental citizens and comply with our obligations under the county sewer act," she said. "We want to do our part and be good citizens."
While still concerned about parts of the agreement, Mayor Lapey said, "We've aired our concerns. We've secured some modifications. If we don't accept...we will incur fines." If the IMA was not signed, there would have been an administrative hearing and the Village would have been subject to a fine of up to $25,000 a day.
Mamaroneck, Larchmont and New Rochelle have already signed the IMA.
Video of Home Sewer Line
Trustee Neal Schwarzfeld asked about one clause in the IMA that requires a new Local Law be put before the Village Board that would require home sellers to video their sewer line and fix any repairs before the sale can be completed. He asked how much this might cost. Mr. Pierpont said the language does not require the Board to pass such a Local Law, just propose it. While Trustee Schwarzfeld said that interpretation may be challenged, he asked again how much the video would cost. Mr. Pierpont estimated it could cost $500+ but then if a problem was found those repair costs are unknown.
Unlawful Hookups to Sanitary Sewer Lines
During the discussion it was also pointed out that one of the problems related to the Long Island Sound's sewer inflow and infiltration issues are unlawful hookups of sump pumps and gutter lines that are connected to sanitary sewer lines. Mr. Pierpont said that so far this year he has ordered the correction of 5 or 6 such illegal hookups. He said there can be a fine and permit required before it can be fixed. The unlawful hookups have been found to basement drains and even to a basement sink. The extra discharge from these hookups allows discharge into the Long Island Sound that has not been fully treated.