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Schumer Pushes for Pipe to Pump L.B., Bay Park Sewage into Sea

Senator seeks $600 million in funds for outflow pipe project.

The Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant after Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012. (Credit: Nassau County)
The Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant after Hurricane Sandy struck in October 2012. (Credit: Nassau County)

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.

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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 reports that 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.”
rich January 16, 2014 at 11:56 AM
how could something as important as sewage treatment become so meaningless in the name of overdevelopment. People who ran on quality of life issues, working families issues and jobs are changing their minds now. Sewage treatment is essential to public safety and pumping it to Bay Park will add a pipe for raw sewage under the channel and marshes, will transfer the revenue and control of fees to Nassau, will lose public service jobs and will lose a public service in the City- so next maybe the water system or Police, Fire, Etc. Cost wise it would be cheaper to improve the plant and piggyback onto the outflow pipe, it would also keep the service here, not put our residents at the end of a line that could result in back-ups due to heavy flows or problems at Bay Park. The residents should be upset as well as the unions in Long Beach - this is not a financial wizard repair for the City. Development will take years and stress the services the City offers. We need treatment service here in Long Beach and environmentally sound decisions and concerns for the residents will keep it here.
rich January 16, 2014 at 11:57 AM
A game changer ? Does that mean we are the pawns in their games now. This was overturned a few years ago by the council and then council president who understood the importance of the plant here. Maybe those new to the City really do not understand yet.
Jack January 16, 2014 at 01:24 PM
Anytime I see political hacks losing their jobs to the private sector I applaud it. Taxpayers are overpaying their taxes to support mob controlled county/town union jobs such as sewage, highway and sanitation. Who would ever think that Schumer would turn into a pro taxpayer anti political hack? Next should be the sanitation. Contract it out to private companies outside of NY/NJ and get the lowest bidder.
danny-boy January 17, 2014 at 07:58 AM
It's shameful that the outfall pipe wasn't put well out into the ocean years ago.
Bob West January 17, 2014 at 09:55 AM
One problem I wonder about with just pushing the sewage further out into the ocean. If you're old enough, remember when we could watch the NYC Garbage Scows take their waste out to sea, and then dump it just over the horizon? Every few weeks, a load of the garbage would wash up on our shores here- A LOT- most memorably styrofoam cups, plastic tampon holders, and condoms. At least that stuff we could see and step around. This sewage is bound to wash back in the same way- that's nature. It may be diluted enough that we can't see it, but it'll be in there. It'll just be washing up on the Ocean side instead of the Bay side. And when the plant continues to overload, it'll just be shuttled raw back to the Bay, anyway. The Bay Park plant malfunctioned dozens of times before Sandy, with deferred maintenance. Nassau County Government and Mangano just got lucky with this one, getting the Feds to pay for it instead of the County. Just more proof of the political practice, ignore a problem long enough that it grows and becomes somebody else's problem.
danny-boy January 17, 2014 at 11:50 AM
The outfall pipe is treated sewage, no garbage, no sludge.
al January 18, 2014 at 08:10 AM
The "Rotten Apple" (aka NYC) still pumps raw sewage into the water ways around the city. They do this during every major rain fall. Their sewer system has both storm water runoff and household sewer waist in the same pipes. As far as treated sewage from Nassau county's Bay Park plant goes they are already dumping "treated sewage?" into Reynolds Channel. Since it is treated why spend this additional money for an out flow pipe to the ocean. After all it is treated, Right? Besides, the pipe will not do anything to prevent another power failure, or flooding at Bay Park with the next storm. Why don't we not just build more "affordable housing" and add to the problems to these sewer plants. Build enough housing and we will eliminate the problem by using what is left of the water in our aquifers so we will not have any water to flush down the drain. East Rockaway, Long Beach, Oceanside and the rest of the communities bordering the bay should never have been built in the first place. If the government wants to protect the sewage plant they should move it to the top of the two Mount Trashmores in Oceanside and Merrick. That would at least make the plants protected from the storm surges.

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