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CCE IN THE NEWS

Source: Newsday

Editorial: Lowly sewers critical to LI

Posted: November 8, 2011
Originally Published: November 7, 2011

Sewage treatment plants are a key precondition for any future economic development in Suffolk County, and the current and future operation of existing plants in Nassau County is a hot issue right now. So a new report on how some plants are working adds valuable data to the debate.

The nonprofit group Citizens Campaign for the Environment chose 10 plants, got data from the state's Department of Environmental Conservation, interviewed the plant operators, and put out a report card. One plant, in Huntington, got a sterling A+. Three got a dismal D.

The marks were not based only on water quality. One of the other criteria was energy efficiency, because energy consumption is a major cost for the plants. Another was public notification of overflows or accidental releases of sewage. Folks do need to know when plants foul their local waters.

The huge Bergen Point plant in Suffolk got a B+. The two large plants in Nassau didn't do as well. Cedar Creek got a C, and Bay Park, where odors and other problems are pivotal in county legislative elections, got a D.

We need to keep seeking federal funds for sewers, because local money is scarce. That's especially relevant in Suffolk, where more than 70 percent of dwellings aren't connected to them. But in both counties, some plants badly need updating, and that costs money, too.

Sewers aren't sexy, but they affect our quality of life and our future. So we must make these plants work well.