Northport Trustees Mull Stormwater Reduction, Filtration Plans

The western end of Main Street before Northport Harbor.    

The western end of Main Street before Northport Harbor.


By Janee Law

A Melville-based environmental planning consulting firm has proposed to Northport Village officials a string of 18 projects intended to reduce the amount of bacteria and nitrogen in stormwater that flows back into Northport Harbor.

Nelson, Pope & Voorhis pitched the plan to trustees during a Sept. 5 workshop on the village’s watershed study, which began in March, and determined where the water is coming from and where it’s flowing.

The goal, Trustee Ian Milligan, said is to limit the amount of water that gathers on Main Street during rain storms for safety reasons, and to capture water before it enters the harbor for environmental reasons.

“When it rains, the water washes fertilizer from people’s lawns, animal waste, nitrogen, phosphorus and other chemicals that lead to other problems into the water,” Milligan said.

Rusty Schmidt, a landscape ecologist for Nelson, Pope & Voorhis who presented the projects to trustees, said the proposals could also help reduce stormwater in several areas in Northport.

The plan is to engineer rain gardens and drainage solutions in the areas most affected.

“The rain garden is a shallow basin we put about 6-12 inches deep into the ground and we direct the water from the storm event into these gardens that have beautiful plants,” Schmidt said. “The healthy soils and the plant roots do all the work. They clean that storm water to drinkable standards before allowing it to get back out to the bay.”

Of the 18 projects, which include either a rain garden or drainage solution, or both, Northport Village trustees will decide before their Sept. 19 meeting the 10 projects they’ll be moving forward with. Once the projects are selected, Schmidt said, the firm will write up reports detailing the location, benefits, size of the project, potential cost and grants the village could apply for.

Projects will be chosen based on its value, Milligan said, including how much water can be captured, how much pollution can be captured, cost and potential educational value.

“I see this as a long term project and something we will continue adding for years to come,” Milligan said.

The Sept. 19 board meeting is slated to begin at 6 p.m. at Northport Village Hall (224 Main St.).