BY EDEN LAIKIN
Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano was honored yesterday for his leadership in securing funding to repair and upgrade the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and for his commitment to extending the plant’s outfall pipe into the ocean.
Citizens Campaign for the Environment presented Mangano with the Environmental Equinox Award, at a ceremony held at Woodbury Country Club. Mangano said the honor really belonged to all of them.
“We have all worked tirelessly together as one team; Sludge Stoppers, Operation Splash, and community leaders from Bay Park, Island Park, Point Lookout and Long Beach towards the goal of extending the outfall pipe into the ocean,” County Executive Mangano said. “Never before in Nassau’s history has government worked so closely with environmental organizations to make real changes that will ensure a healthy and safe environment for many more generations.
Mangano told those gathered about all the work that has begun in the 18 months since Superstorm Sandy hit the area. Repairs have begun on roads, bridges, parks, schools, libraries, hospitals, and many other types of critical infrastructure.
In the biggest funded project of all, the County received an award of 810 million from FEMA for the permanent repair and hazard mitigation of the Bay Park facility and several pump stations. Work has already begun on more than $200 million in contracts; the county has undertaken a pilot program that would begin the removal of nitrogen from the effluent; the County entered into a contract with the USGS and local water districts (jointly funded) to begin a comprehensive testing program of our ground water; and, in conjunction with FEMA, Nassau has also entered into a $14 million contract for the removal of debris in the County’s water ways – including hundreds of cars, boats, tanks, old piers, homes, etc. located under water submerged by Sandy.
“We have a once in a generation opportunity to solve two critical problems – at the same time: the ecological health of the Western Bay Region, and the resiliency of the entire Southern Nassau Region,” Mangano said in accepting the award. “By removing the outfall from Reynolds Channel, we remove more than three-fourths of the nitrogen loading to the Western Bays. With all of your help, I am certain that we will achieve every goal we set to improve and protect our waterways, marshlands and groundwater.”