Payloader Rescues Officer and Others From Flooded Creek Road

Updated: A Town of Huntington payloader helped a stranded Suffolk police officer and other motorists who were stranded in their vehicles on a flooded Creek Road Wednesday night.

Flooding outside the Huntington sewage treatment plant on Creek Road led Steve Jappell, a waste water treatment plant operator at the plant, to operate the payloader and assist fellow employee Joe Lombardo in entering the facility. Jappell also used the payloader to assist the officer, who was ultimately transported from the scene by the Huntington Fire Department in a rescue boat. 

“Thank you to the Huntington Fire Department, as well as Centerport, Halesite and Northport Fire Departments, who also arrived to assist other stranded motorists on Creek Road, and to our quick-thinking staff at the plant,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.  

Between 7 PM and 1:30 AM, the Huntington plant saw its largest rain event in almost 20 years, with 6.29 inches of rain falling during that 6.5-hour period. At one point during the peak of high tide, STP staff were unable to gain access to the plant from the main entrance on Creek Road, which was flooded with several feet of water, nor from the back entrance near the Mill Dam gates.  

The plant  processed more than 3.8 million gallons of sewage from 6:00 AM yesterday through 6:00 AM Thursday morning. Typical volume is approximately 1.8 million gallons per day. The STP will continue to experience above average flow rates over the next two days as groundwater intrusion and sump pump activity contribute to the increased volumes. 

“We have been making significant infrastructure improvements at our STP which allow us to better handle the operational impact brought on by storms,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. 


Huntington STP staff use payloader to assist officer on the hood of police vehicle stuck on flooded Creek Road as Huntington Fire Department responds with an inflatable rescue boat. 


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