The New York League of Conservation Voters, which works to make the environment a top political priority in New York State, has announced its support for a private operator to run Nassau County's troubled sewage treatment infrastructure, including the much troubled Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The statewide environmental organization also announced its support for appropriate financing to update and repair critical infrastructure to achieve environmental compliance and protect the health of Long Islanders.
Hurricane Sandy inflicted serious damage to Nassau County's wastewater infrastructure, particularly the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, causing the release of hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into Long Island's Western Bays. But while Sandy may have exposed the system's weaknesses, many of its problems predate the storm and underscore a lack of investment that has lasted for decades.
"With a minimum of 119 violations in five years, the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant is the single worst threat to water quality on Long Island. But more than that, it puts the health of our residents and the very future of our region at risk," said Michael Posillico, chair of NYLCV's Long Island Chapter . "This plant, as well as the rest of county's wastewater treatment infrastructure, requires immediate action and a comprehensive plan to bring it up to environmental compliance and protect human health. Nassau County, by its own admission, has not kept up pace with required investments, best practices or personnel training, resulting in acute environmental degradation. The best way to move forward quickly is to seek the assistance of a skilled, professional firm to run the operations for Bay Park and the rest of the county's wastewater treatment infrastructure."
New research shows that even before Hurricane Sandy, 95 percent of total nitrogen in the Western Bays originated from sewage treatment plants, with 85 percent from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant alone. Bay Park discharges some 58 million to 65 million gallons of treated sewage a day into the bays every day.