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CCE IN THE NEWS

Source: Newsday

Report: Bay Park sewage plant at bottom

BY JENNIFER SMITH

Posted: October 31, 2011
Originally Published: October 31, 2011

With 119 violations in five years and a host of other perceived failings, Nassau's Bay Park sewage treatment plant ranked the lowest of 10 on Long Island in a new report card issued Monday by Citizens Campaign for the Environment.

The Farmingdale environmental advocacy group graded plants from Long Beach to Riverhead on violations, public notification procedures, energy efficiency measures, public education, and climate change adaptation. The rankings were based on state environmental data from 2005 through 2010, and questionnaires on plant operation and procedures.

"Sewage treatment facilities impact everything from our cost of living to our economy, our public health and our natural resources," said Adrienne Esposito, the group's executive director. "Unfortunately most of the time it's out of sight, out of mind. But the damage that it does is very real."


Sewage discharged to bays and harbors often contains nitrogen, which can harm marine life and trigger harmful algae blooms. Excessive bacteria levels from plants can sicken swimmers at nearby beaches, the group said. The report card called for more federal funding to repair aging sewage infrastructure, and said all plants needed to remove nitrogen and phase out the use of potentially harmful chlorine to disinfect sewage.

Of the 10 Long Island plants, the Town of Huntington's facility got the highest ranking: an A+. It had the lowest number of violations -- 13 over five years -- but also fared well because of energy efficiency measures and the town's support of public notification in cause of violations.

Bay Park had company at the bottom of the rankings. Facilities in Long Beach and Stony Brook also earned Ds.

Despite having the most violations of any plant, Nassau's Cedar Creek facility got a C grade. Its rank was buoyed in part by efforts to control stormwater with "green infrastructure" such as artificial wetlands and permeable pavement that soaks up runoff.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano blamed most of the problems at the Bay Park plant on the what he called neglect by the previous administration.

"Since taking office in 2010, my administration has invested tens of millions of dollars in preventative [sic] maintenance and repairs," Mangano said in a statement. "As a result of major management and operational changes, the plant's negative impact on our environment and community has been mitigated."

Mangano said the report underscored the need for privatization of Nassau's sewage plant, saying that would improve performance.

Suffolk officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the performance of the Stony Brook and Port Jefferson plants, which ranked third and fourth from the bottom, respectively.

THE REPORT CARD

1. Huntington -- A+

2. Bergen Point -- B+

3. Patchogue -- B

4. Riverhead -- B

5. Glen Cove -- C+

6. Cedar Creek -- C

7. Port Jefferson -- C

8. Stony Brook -- D

9. Long Beach -- D

10. Bay Park -- D