What to do about East Hampton’s septic waste treatment plant on Springs-Fireplace Road has become a source of political division and tension in Town Hall.
Treatment ended there last year after the state cited it for environmental violations. Bringing it into compliance with discharge regulations could be very costly.
On one side, Supervisor Bill Wilkinson and Councilwoman Theresa Quigley favor selling the plant to an UpIsland firm, perhaps for $300,000, a price some have derided as too low. The other point of view, that of Councilwoman Sylvia Overby and Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc, is that the town should learn more about its options, present them to the public, and draft a new wastewater management policy.
Somewhere in the middle you find Councilman Dominick Stanzione, whose call for more time to explore the options has contributed to his falling from favor among some members of the local Republican leadership. They have accused him of throwing in his lot with Ms. Overby and Mr. Van Scoyoc, who are Democrats.
Mr. Stanzione’s position is reasonable, however, and should not be dismissed out of hand. He recently said that though he liked the idea of turning the plant over to a private company, other options should be considered. Among them were closing the facility completely and using the land for something else, or keeping it running, as it has for the past few months, as a transfer station, where waste haulers deposit loads to be trucked out of town for treatment.
The lone offer the town received for the plant came from a firm whose principals were 30-year friends of the consultant who wrote the town’s request for proposals for it. This has drawn some criticism, but not the scrutiny that it warrants. Mr. Wilkinson was eager enough to be rid of the plant that he was willing last week to begin negotiations. We disagree. East Hampton Town’s long-term interest would be better served by a more thorough deliberation.