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Source: Newsday

New pipe reroutes Jones Beach sewage

BY NICHOLAS SPANGLER

Posted: August 14, 2012
Originally Published: August 14, 2012

The toilets used by generations of Jones Beach bathers flushed to a treatment plant behind the theater and then, to environmentalists’ dismay, into the Western Bays.
No longer.

A buried 2-mile, $2.2 million pipe connecting the Jones Beach sewage treatment outfall pipe to the nearby Cedar Creek plant means that sewage will now discharge three miles out to sea, Nassau County and New York State officials announced Monday.

“The health of our bays and estuaries must be protected and this project goes a long way in achieving that goal,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said in a statement.

Treated sewage released into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean disperses faster than discharge into the shallow Western Bays, which extend from the western boundary of the Town of Hempstead to the Nassau-Suffolk line and sustain many species of marine and bird life.

Conservation groups cheered the new connection in releases of their own, saying it was a step toward cleaner water. “The cumulative impact of all this dumping into bays is sediment buildup on the bottom, result[ing] in fewer fish and shellfish and poor water quality,” Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, said in an interview.

But she cautioned that the Jones Beach plant, which discharges 30 million gallons annually, was only one of four treatment plants and a power plant discharging into the Western Bays, and responsible for the least discharge.

The others include the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant, which handles an average of 50 million gallons of sewage per day.

In 2010, the plant spilled treated solids into Reynolds Channel.

Nassau County is studying new ways to discharge treated sewage from the plant, including on-site upgrades as well as a new outfall pipe that would extend into the Atlantic Ocean.

“Under County Executive Mangano’s watch, the health of the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant has dramatically improved and has not incurred any environmental violations in nearly 18 months,” Mike Martino, a Nassau Department of Public Works spokesman, wrote in an email.