Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Sen. Charles Schumer visited Washington D.C. on Wednesday to push for funds for projects aimed at cleaning up waterways that impact Long Beach and neighboring communities.
One project involves $600 million in aid to fund an outfall pipe system that would transfer treated sewage from Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant in East Rockaway into the Atlantic Ocean. The other project calls for converting Long Beach’s treatment plant into a pumping station that could move sewage to Bay Park for treatment and distribution with other effluent through the pipe and up to three miles out to sea.
During Hurricane Sandy, water from Reynolds Channel flooded and knocked out power at the Bay Park Plant, ultimately causing the release of millions of gallons of raw sewage and billions of gallons of partially-treated sewage into the channel and Hewlett Bay.
According to Schumer’s office, the plant, which serves more than 500,000 county residents, continues to sustain setbacks that include electrical failures due to the lingering impact from saltwater corrosion, and the waterways remain dangerous or prohibitive to swimmers and boaters due to massively elevated levels of sewage and nitrogen.
“We watched in horror while an environmental disaster unfolded in the wake of Sandy, with sewage from the crippled Bay Park plant flowing back into homes and local waterways,” Schumer said in a statement. “This outflow pipe, which Nassau has been seeking for decades, would prevent another environmental disaster from unfolding, and is the perfect use of mitigation money that Congress secured in the Sandy Relief bill early last year.”
Schumer, who with Mangano reportedly met with Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate to discuss funding for Bay Park on Wednesday, seeks funds from the $62 billion Sandy Relief bill, which provides funds for two programs: Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Water Program and the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development grant program. Max Dworin, a spokesman for Schumer, confirmed for Patch reportsthat the cost for the outfall pipe is estimated at $690 million and the conversion of the Long Beach plant is $35 million.
The requested funds are in addition to $730 million that FEMA approved for Nassau County to repair and mitigate the Bay Park Plant, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Jan. 10.“We are extremely supportive of Senator Schumer’s effort to secure $600 million to provide critical improvements to the wastewater infrastructure here and at Bay Park, thereby improving the water quality in Reynolds Channel,” Long Beach City Council President Scott Mandel said in a statement. “This will truly be a game changer for the south shore. We are excited to work with Senator Schumer and Nassau County to see this project move forward.”
Mangano called the outflow pipe project “the single most important thing we can do to protect homeowners and the environment.”