Jul 28, 2014
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Letter to Editor: Ford Helped Keep Polluted Bay a Secret

Writer finds legislator's explanation for opposing notification bill "ridiculous."

Letter to Editor: Ford Helped Keep Polluted Bay a Secret Letter to Editor: Ford Helped Keep Polluted Bay a Secret

The following letter was originally written for Long Beach Patch .

To the Editor:

I am frustrated and angry that Nassau County elected officials are playing politics with our health. 

In March of 2010, over 350 million gallons of dangerous sewage was discharged from the Bay Park Sewage Plant into Reynolds Channel, and no one said anything to the citizens of Long Beach. From August 2010 through January 2011, over 65 million gallons a day of untreated and partially treated sewage was released into Reynolds Channel and, still, no one said anything. My friends and neighbors – and my children – swam and fished in those polluted waters throughout, ignorant of the danger.

Finally, in April 2011, the Right to Know Spill Bill was introduced to the County Legislature. It would have required public notification about sewage spills through the media and email notifications. For some reason, Long Beach county legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) opposed the bill and it died without being passed. 

When asked why she opposed the public notification bill at our recent candidate debates, Ford had no real explanation. She stammered and then said the county needed to solve the pollution problem first, so they wouldn’t have anything to notify people about. That’s just ridiculous – it could take years to fix the Bay Park Plant.  Why can’t the county keep us informed of the dangers at the same time it is working on modernizing the plant?

Now, just two weeks before Election Day, I heard that Denise Ford is finally supporting a spill notification bill, but it’s limited to email notifications only. I find her timing, and the restrictions her bill places on public notice, to be inexcusable. 

We trust our elected officials to keep us safe. Yet it seems that the county doesn’t want us to know the full extent of dangerous sewage pollution and Ford is helping to keep the secret. We need to remember that on Election Day.

Ruth Bernstein-Banschick
Long Beach

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