Carmel Councilman Michael Barile is facing swirling questions about a septic system used at one of his properties as the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation slapped the developer with a notice of violation earlier this month.
Following an inspection of Blu Restaurant, which is on a parcel owned by Barile, a notice of violation was issued because the facility lacked the required State Pollution Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit for the current septic system, according to a DEC spokeswoman.
“DEC is requiring the facility to come into compliance with state laws and regulations that are protective of public health and the environment and the investigation into potential enforcement is ongoing,” spokeswoman Maureen Wren said.
The issue was first reported by Lohud.
Barile, in an interview, said he is disputing that violation because he believes it’s a pre-existing, non- conforming use and claimed at least four out of five restaurants in the county outside of sewer districts don’t have SPDES. (The DEC disputed that his property would be exempt, according to Lohud).
“It’s not an unusual situation,” he said, adding the DEC, board of health and town want Blu to tie into sewer. “I have made an application to tie into the sewer and hopefully it’ll all be done by July.”
The Lohud article noted Barile and his business partner wrote a letter to the Town of Carmel recently inquiring how the town can activate the dry sewer line that has been around since 1993 for Blu. The letter seeking the hookup comes three days after Blu’s septic system was found to not have the discharge permit, Lohud reported.
There has been some debate over whether Blu was already hooked up to the sewer line and was not paying sewer fees for decades. Supervisor Kenny Schmitt wrote that Barile told him the restaurant was connected to the sewer, in a 2015 memo obtained by Lohud.
In an interview, Schmitt said agencies like the DEC and county board of health will determine whether or not Blu is hooked up to sewer or if it’s using a septic system. While he cares about where a property’s sewer is going because of the obvious health and environmental factors, the town is under the belief Barile set up a dry main line that is capped.
“To the best of my knowledge and to the best of my engineering department’s knowledge, there is nothing flowing through that main,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt tried to assure residents during a town board meeting that water from Lake Mahopac was safe to drink despite the questions of Blu’s septic system being near the body of water.
Schmitt also stood by a letter to the editor he penned to local newspapers, in an attempt to clear up the questions facing Blu Restaurant. In the letter, which was printed in the June 11-17 issue of The Putnam Examiner, Schmitt claimed that he and Barile miscommunicated about whether a gas line or sewer line was hooked up. The 2015 email written by Schmitt, referred to by Lohud, stated that Barile said he was hooked up to sewer, but later Schmitt claimed he misheard Barile who was actually talking about a gas line.
“I stand by everything I said,” he said of the letter. “100 percent, I stand behind it.”