Empowering Communities, Advocating Solutions


Image of the Westen Bays.The Western Bays is a sub-region of the Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve, extending from the western boundary of the Town of Hempstead to the Nassau/Suffolk County line. They are home to the largest concentration of salt marshes in the South Shore Estuary Reserve. This system of bays and marshes provides critical habitat for birds and marine species, and offer abundant recreational opportunities for residents and tourists. Once productive fishing and shellfishing grounds, the water quality and habitat of the bays has deteriorated in recent decades, and much research still needs to be done to diagnose and fix the ecological problems seen in this region.

A Cleaner Bay, A Cleaner Ocean

New 10 Point Plan for Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant

Western Bays Collaborative Working Group

The Western Bays Collaborative Working Group works to restore the Western Bays, and is made up of state and local officials, agencies, and environmental groups, including CCE. The Working Group has successfully worked to release funding for the necessary research through Stony Brook University, U.S. Geological Survey, and Battelle. This is the first comprehensive science-based research in the Western Bays and is the beginning step in developing a much-needed and much-awaited restoration plan for these bays.

Update: The Fix for the Bay Park STP

We are closer than ever to a fix for the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which was severely damaged during Superstorm Sandy and currently discharges 40% of Nassau County's effluent into the Western Bays. After years of fighting to secure funding for upgrades and an ocean outfall pipe, many of the repairs have been completed, and an existing aqueduct can connect the Bay Park Plant to an already existing outfall pipe at the nearby Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant. In fact, this existing infrastructure and outfall pipe have the capacity to incur waste from the Long Beach STP as well – one fix for 3 STPs!

Update: Nassau County, NY Has Email Notification for Sewage Overflows

Nassau County has recently implemented an email notification system so that Nassau residents can be made aware when there has been a spill or leak from the sewage treatment system. One problem related to pollutant loading is the possibility of public health impacts from contact with an impaired waterway. Nassau residents now have the ability to quickly and easily become informed when a sewage overflow occurs so they can protect themselves and their families from contact with contaminated water.

Get a list of past sewage overflows and sign up for email notifications

Victory! Stony Brook University Study of Western Bays Funded by NYS

After five years, the NYS Division of the Budget finally released the much needed, much anticipated funding for Stony Brook University to begin work on an essential research study. The study will be one of three critical studies to be completed in coming years that will paint a comprehensive picture of the state of the Western Bays. This is an exciting first step in restoring the quality of the western portion of the SSER.

Stay up to date on the SBU research in the Western Bays

Water Quality Degradation in the Western Bays

Four sewage treatment plants (STPs) and one power plant combine to discharge 64.5 million gallons of effluent per day into the shallow Western Bays. This daily massive discharge stresses the delicate Western Bays ecosystem and has taken its toll on water quality. The Western Bays has been listed for over a decade on the DEC list of impaired water bodies for pathogens and was recently listed for excessive nutrients. More research is needed on where the pollutant loading is coming from, the effect of pollutant loading on the water body, and how to lessen the negative impacts of polluted runoff and sewage discharges.

Victory! Jones Beach Sewage Treatment Plant Will Join Cedar Creek Ocean Outfall

In an exciting new beginning for the Western Bays, a critical project needed for the restoration of the Western Bays moved forward. The NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation announced construction will move forward to hook up the Jones Beach Sewage Treatment outfall pipe to the Nassau County Cedar Creek sewage treatment outfall pipe. This important hookup will divert Jones Beach’s treated effluent from the enclosed Western Bays to the Atlantic Ocean, allowing improved water quality in one of the public’s favorite recreation spots--Zach’s Bay.

Factsheet on the Western Bays

Save the Western Bays position paper

Updated by jchristensen 7/24/17