Sound Thinking: Settle the Lawsuit and Maintain the Sewer Lines
In your recent article on the Mayor’s first six months and Rye’s backlog of infrastructure needs, you quoted the Mayor stating, “the Save the Sound lawsuits facing the city may require $1,000,000 in repairs.” It’s important for Rye residents to know, the lawsuit was brought by Save the Sound in 2015 because for more than a decade Rye government has neglected to hire professionals to properly maintain the sewer lines in our community, which deliver our waste to the County-run sewage treatment plant. As a result, Rye’s raw sewage has been leaking out of manholes and collapsed pipes into our streams and coastline, fouling our water, and closing our beaches. The lawsuit was filed to force Rye to fix problems that have been going on for years.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation shares Save the Sound’s concern and has brought its own legal action against Rye for 25 documented raw sewage overflows reported in the city between 2013 and spring of 2017. As a resident, I applaud the Mayor’s effort to finally get our infrastructure back in working order. Yet to be fair, the dollars we need to invest to get there are the responsibility of our community. Delaying repairs and postponing maintenance is the reason why these repairs are now so costly, not the fact that Save the Sound, a local NGO, and NY State are finally making Rye comply with the federal Clean Water Act.
I urge Mayor Cohn and the City Council to follow the lead of the Village of Mamaroneck and Port Chester and settle the lawsuit so that we can focus our attention and resources on cleaning up our precious nature places, including Long Island Sound, which attracted so many of us to this community and enhances our quality of life every day. We can do better!
- Libby Connolly Alexander, Rye resident and Save the Sound board member