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Long Island Treatment Plant Was Top Sandy Sewage Polluter

Submitted by Elizabeth Mooney on Wed, 2013-05-01 14:00.

Princeton, N.J.-based Climate Central has tallied the massive raw sewage overflows that occurred after Hurricane Sandy.

Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in Long Beach  released over two billion gallons of sewage after Hurricane  Sandy.Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in Long Beach released over two billion gallons of sewage after Hurricane Sandy.The 11 billion gallons of overflow due to Sandy's storm surges -- almost all in New York and New Jersey -- would be enough to cover Central Park with a pile of sewage 41 feet high.

About one-third of the sewage was not treated at all, and the rest was partially treated. Alyson Kenward, lead author of the report, said quick work of treatment plant personnel prevented billions more gallons from entering waterways.

Among the worst polluters was Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in Nassau County, where over two billion gallons of partially treated sewage overflowed into Long Island's Hewlett Bay during the 44 days it took to restore operations after the storm.  Flooding was so severe in the area that the facility could not give an estimate of the outflow volume; Climate Central's study estimated based on "daily average flows throughout the plant."

NYLCV has called for a private operator to run the Bay Park plant, since the county government doesn't have the expertise or personnel to run it. 

Bay Park's outflows were second only to Passiac Valley Sewage Commission in Newark, New Jersey.

Climate Central analyzed information from state agencies and treatment plant operators to reach its tally, but did not examine environmental or public health impacts. However, the group said that bacteria in sewage can spread water-borne illnesses and have a particularly bad effect on shellfish.

The science journalism group warned that future leaks of raw sewage from overwhelmed treatment plants are a major risk because rising sea levels can make coastal flooding more severe.

Its report estimated the cost of repairing damage to sewage treatment plants after Sandy at nearly $2 billion in New York and $2.7 billion in New Jersey.

For the full text of Climate Central's study, click here

NYLCV Blog | Filed Under: Water,New York City, Nassau, Long Island

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