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Feb 17, 2015 8:17 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

McAllister Calls For More Water Testing At CPI Site

Feb 17, 2015 5:15 PM

An East End water quality advocate wants the developers behind the soon-to-be-built Canoe Place Inn Maritime Planned Development District in Hampton Bays to take additional steps to safeguard and monitor the area’s groundwater.

Kevin McAllister, founder of the nonprofit Defend H2O and the former Peconic Baykeeper, wants the project’s backers—cousins Gregg and Mitchell Rechler of R Squared LLC—to test the groundwater near the future site of the mixed-use development immediately, even though a date hasn’t been set for the groundbreaking.

“Let’s start doing testing now,” Mr. McAllister said during a recent interview. “Let’s see what it’s like in the winter of 2015, then the spring and summer, so we can really map out the trends.”

Mr. McAllister was a champion of the Nitrex wastewater treatment system during the Rechlers’ four-year quest to win Southampton Town Board approval of the project. Ultimately, the developers included the Nitrex system to service the 37 townhouses they intend on building along the eastern shore of the Shinnecock Canal, as well as a permeable reactive barrier, or PRB, that will be installed along the west side of the canal to filter nitrates generated by a refurbished Canoe Place Inn and other nearby properties.

The PRB, which will be installed by Massachusetts-based Lombardo Associates along both Montauk Highway and Newtown Road, is projected to remove nearly all the harmful nutrients generated by the refurbished inn and catering hall before they can make their way to the canal, while also capturing nitrates from other nearby properties, according to the documents on file with the town.

During the installation of the PRB, five to seven testing holes will be drilled to allow for the regular testing of groundwater. The testing will be monthly during the first year, then alternating between monthly and quarterly every six months during the next four years, before becoming just quarterly for the fifth year on. Mr. McAllister wants this testing to begin immediately.

Pio Lombardo, owner of Lombardo Associates, said it is not clear when exactly the groundwater testing will begin, noting that it is largely contingent on the construction schedule and other factors. He did note, however, that it could begin this spring.

Mr. Lombardo agrees that it is important to establish baseline data on the amount of nitrates in the groundwater at the present time and later compare those figures to the numbers estimated by the developers during the approval process. At the same time, he said, there is no rush to get that work done, noting that testing can be expensive, though he did not know the exact cost when interviewed.

“From a timeline perspective, I don’t think there needs to be a big hurry, because groundwater doesn’t change all that much,” Mr. Lombardo said. “The testing is to confirm our assumptions to see if they are accurate.

“We made some conservative assumptions, so we might have to make some adjustments to match what’s actually there,” he continued, “but we didn’t have a lot of data on this thing going in.”

Gregg Rechler, when reached by phone last month, said he did not know when construction would begin on the project, which is expected to reflect an investment of between $50 million and $60 million, noting that his company still needs various approvals from both the town and Suffolk County before ground can be broken. Still, Mr. Rechler said he hopes to get started within the next year.

When asked about Mr. McAllister’s request, he declined to comment, explaining that he hadn’t heard it directly and was unfamiliar with the project’s testing plan.

“Kevin [McAllister] has been really helpful in the process,” Mr. Rechler said, referring to his assistance with the Nitrex system. “He’s been insightful and given us recommendations along the way. So if he were to reach out to me directly, I would listen to what he has to say. But I don’t want to respond into a vacuum.”

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If anyone else called for this study, I might possibly agree with it. Kevin is a disgrace and needs to stay out of this and any other non profit, environmental group, etc. He should stick to his families Jitney money and fade into oblivion. Go home Kevin, no one cares what you thing or listens to you anymore. Your time is done.
By G (342), Southampton on Feb 22, 15 12:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
Seems to me water quality should trump any kind of personal vendetta you obviously have. Are you also in the pocket of the developers?
By June Bug (2680), SOUTHAMPTON on Feb 22, 15 4:39 PM
2 members liked this comment
Seems like there's an undisclosed story there, doesn't it?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Feb 22, 15 4:43 PM
"G" is right on...Kevin was fired and we have a new BayKeeper. Your credibility has been erased because of your midnight trists!!!! Living off the publics donations is self-serving and dishonarable....move on and "Please" go away.
By The Squirl (36), Red creek on Feb 22, 15 4:55 PM
2 members liked this comment
give it a rest Kevin-your time is up
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Feb 22, 15 6:53 PM
2 members liked this comment
Who made this guy in charge of testing water samples for projects?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Feb 22, 15 9:45 PM
3 members liked this comment
Kevin is self appointed unemployed
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Feb 22, 15 9:48 PM
2 members liked this comment
Were you people as hard on Bill Clinton for his peccadilloes?
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Feb 23, 15 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Like him or not, Clinton at least has a record of accomplishments. Such cannot be said for McAllister. Lip service does not count.
By VOS (1241), WHB on Feb 23, 15 7:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Come on...a baseline is ALWAYS a good idea! Water is a necessity - it is important to keep it safe and clean! Look at other contamination studies....protozal, parasitic, bacterial, and viral infections. Have fun paying those doctor bills if you fall ill-especially if you are counting on Obama care! The developers need to be held responsible for any issues that arise, baseline testing makes for accountability.
By 1bigfish (18), Hampton Bays on Feb 23, 15 9:38 AM
... I didn't know Clinton had peccadilloes, I thought he only had a dog.
By William Rodney (561), southampton on Feb 23, 15 1:28 PM
1 member liked this comment
The verdict is in!

We are all now in favor of any proposed development on this property and no longer care about water quality or monitoring standards.

We may be dumb but at least we have principles!
By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (747), southampton on Feb 24, 15 7:25 AM
So here's a little band of moralists, all rejecting Kevin McAllister's testing suggestion, not on the merits, but because of his alleged transgressions and subsequent termination. Never mind that his idea might be good -- nooo, we're focusing on his private life.

Or is this just a pathetic attempt to stifle the idea of extra monitoring by tarring the messenger? Even though I oppose this project, I have too much respect for the Rechlers as individuals to believe they have any part in ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Feb 27, 15 11:04 PM
I wasn't aware that anyone, anywhere was against monitoring. And in fact, it is a part of the project and should be. The thing that I find odd is why Mr. McAllister continues to advocate for this, when the project is no where near being started, never mind being monitored.

It does seem like a chance for him to put his name in the paper, not actually do something that is needed at this point.

Just curious. since we have a new "baykeeper" wouldn't he/she also be interested in ...more
By bb (922), Hampton Bays on Apr 15, 15 9:12 PM