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New Castle officials have been given an approximate starting time for when Westchester County will begin construction of its sewage diversion project along Hunts Lane, but those in the area should prepare for two years of headaches.
Town Administrator Jill Shapiro said work will begin either in the fall or next spring to divert the sewage from Riverwoods and Yeshiva to Mount Kisco’s Saw Mill Pump Station. Final engineering plans are currently being completed, she said.
The work will be between Doerr’s Garage and the town’s Department of Public Works facility on Hunts Lane in Chappaqua.
“They expect it to be a 24-month project at least, weather permitting,” Shapiro said. “It runs along Hunts Lane, which is already a congested area. There is no place else to put it. This is where it has to go.”
What may be most difficult for motorists, any residents within earshot of the work and businesses on Hunts Lane is that because the street is so heavily traveled the town has recommended project work hours of about 4:30 p.m. to 10 or 11 p.m., Shapiro said.
One of the major considerations to having the work done in the late afternoon through much of the evening is that Chappaqua Transportation, the school bus company that serves the Chappaqua School District, is located farther down Hunts Lane and would be blocked from accessing its facility.
“There’s no other time for them to do it, and the problem is that if I allow them to do it during the day that means the buses can’t get in and out,” Shapiro explained.
County and local officials had worked for well over a decade to find a solution to the failing Fox Hollow Treatment Plant that has served Riverwoods and Yeshiva. For years, there had been discussions about diverting the sewage through a trunk line that would have been built in Millwood to transport the sewage to a county trunk line in Briarcliff Manor before being sent to Yonkers.
But cost estimates of over $26 million and political haggling eliminated any chance of that plan being implemented.
A third community in New Castle, Random Farms, is making improvements to its wastewater treatment plant and its sewage will not need to be diverted.
With less traffic on Hunts Place during the summer because of the absence of the school bus runs, Supervisor Lisa Katz asked whether work could be accelerated when school is out of session, or at least the drilling, which is the noisiest work. However, Shapiro said the anticipated length of the project and because of the extent of the rock excavation, crews will be unable to confine most of the work to about two months out of the year.
“The other issue is that it’s going to be a gravity sewer, so they’re going to have to situate it properly so it goes down very deep to get the pitch that they need,” she said.
The town has been informed that there will be about nine weeks of excavation, but each week will be separated by at least two months as the project will be done in segments, Shapiro said. Work would alleviate a “chokepoint” where the Saw Mill Sewer District trunk line narrows from 36 inches on Hunts Lane and prevents more sewage from being accommodated.
Diversion to Mount Kisco became a viable option after the village and New Castle agreed in 2020 on the plan. Mount Kisco is also making upgrades to its Saw Mill Pump Station as part of the project. It also needed New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection to amend a more than a century-old agreement to accept sewage from outside its borders.
Martin has more than 30 years experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, including a frequent focus on zoning and planning issues. He has been editor-in-chief of The Examiner since its inception in 2007. Read more from Martin’s editor-author bio here. Read Martin’s archived work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/martin-wilbur2007/