By Eden Laikin
Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano today joined with local elected officials, environmental protection groups and residents to formally request funding from the Federal and State governments to further repair and improve the troubled Bay Park Wastewater Treatment plant.
County Executive Mangano also announced today that Nassau has, and continues to provide, professional cleanups for residents whose homes were affected by sewage when Superstorm Sandy damaged the nearby Bay Park plant.
Hurricane Sandy caused extensive damage to the Plant, causing it to shut down – thereby backing up sewage into some communities.
A Federal-State-County Critical Task Force was able to have the plant operational within a couple of weeks, he said, but the facility remains “in dire need of critical and costly repairs,“ Mangano said.
The administration is seeking Federal and State assistance to help fund over $740 million in construction costs related to items such as odor control systems, the electrical power supply and distribution system, effluent screening and raw sewage pumping, and sludge thickening and dewatering facilities. Another $500 million is being sought to help construct a new Outfall Pipe that delivers treated sewage into the Ocean rather than local bays and waterways.
At a press conference outside the Bay Park plant today, Mangano discussed these and other Post-Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts and plans for improvements to the facility. He also led a tour through the plant.
“Federal and State officials have, and continue to, partner with the County to achieve improvements to the Bay Park plant, and I thank Senators Schumer and Gillibrand, Congressman King and Governor Cuomo for that,” Mangano said.
The County Executive was joined at the plant today by state Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, Nassau County Legislators Denise Ford, Hempstead Town Councilman Tony Santino, East Rockaway Village Mayor Francis Lenahan, Island Park Trustees, Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito, members of Operation SPLASH and Bay Park residents
“Unfortunately, the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant has been a bad neighbor to this community and our environment,” Mangano told the crowd. “Prior to my administration, the plant racked up violations and fines due to poor maintenance, all of which culminated in October 2010 when partially treated sewage spilled into local channels.”
Since Mangano took office, his administration has invested over $70 million in emergency repairs to the facility. In order To improve transparency and communication, the administration also created a New Community Notification System so residents knew when a problem arose at the plant.
As a result of the County, State and Federal investments, the plants performance improved and no violations occurred in more than 18 months, Mangano said.
“Sadly, this progress was reversed when Hurricane Sandy hit our shores,” he added. “The Superstorm delivered 9 feet of seawater into the Bay Park plant and caused serious plant failures. For 49 hours, the plant remained off line. System breaches occurred in East Rockaway and Baldwin – damaging hundreds of homes and neighborhoods. Thanks to a Federal-State-County Critical Response Team, the plant was up and fully processing sewage by mid-November. The team helped secure temporary equipment and established new procedures in the plant. By December, the plant was meeting all DEC guidelines.”
To help homeowners impacted by the sewage breaches, Mangano implemented interior and exterior home cleaning programs that have assisted over 400 homes. This week, they begin offering cleaning and lawn re-seeding to the affected residents.
The Clean and Seed Program will include an initial assessment of a property. Services include the removal, and then replacement, of top soil, lawn seeding and the cleaning of permanent structures around the home. Anyone interested in the program should email send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 516-535-5730.
“Make no mistake; today we are one serious mechanical failure away from an emergency that could affect half a million people,” Mangano said. “Many problems remain, including unpleasant odors. The plant is truly in a fragile state. The latest incident occurred last week at the plant when an electrical failure, caused by salt water corrosion in the electrical system, shut the plant down. The good news however is there MAY NOT have been a spill into Reynolds Channel last week as previously reported…however, we cannot continue to play this game of Russian roulette. Clearly this is an issue that will persist until major repairs are undertaken. To truly recover and ensure this neighborhood and its local waterways are protected, significant work must occur.”