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CCE PRESS CENTER

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release:
Monday, October 31, 2011
For more information contact:
Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, 516-390-7150, 631-384-1378 (mobile), aesposito@citizenscampaign.org
Maureen Dolan Murphy, Executive Programs Manager, 516-390-7150, 516-375-5425 (mobile), mmurphy@citizenscampaign.org

SEWAGE IN THE SUBURBS: THE SCARY TRUTH

Long Island’s First Sewage Treatment Plant Report Card CCE Analyzes 10 STPs

Farmingdale, NY - In a Halloween Day theme of scary news, CCE releases the first Long Island Sewage Report Card. In a comprehensive review CCE researched and analyzed 10 large sewage treatment plants across Long Island. CCE staff reviewed effluent data from 2005 through 2010 for all ten facilities. In addition, personal interviews were conducted with management staff of each facility. STPs were graded on permit violations, public notification procedures, storm water management, energy efficiency, public education, and climate change adaptation.


The Huntington Sewage Treatment Plant has the top score of an A+. The Bay Park, Long Beach, and Stony Brook STPs have the worst scores and each received a D.


“Sewage in the suburbs is not exactly a bedtime story. Frankly, Long Island’s sewage woes are frightening. Aging infrastructure, antiquated plants, and zero dollars result in decreased water quality, shellfish closures, outbreaks of toxic algae and public health threats,” stated Adrienne Esposito, Executive Director, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, “It’s a ghoulish story.”


The report identified that owners and operators of sewage treatment plants do not have a public notification system when untreated or partially treated sewage is released. There are several such releases each year and residents, unaware of the sewage spill have been seen fishing and crabbing in impacted waters.


“Residents have a right to know if sewage is contaminating local water bodies. Members of the public can be seen year-round boating and fishing throughout our lakes, bays, and estuaries. Notification is a common sense step that allows for the public to make choices to protect themselves and their families,” stated Maureen Dolan Murphy, Executive Programs Manager, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, “We urge NYS to implement statewide legislation that gives the public the power to protect themselves.”


The report also analyzed permit violations in the last 5 years for all 10 plants. Violations were separated out into two categories - overdue violations and water quality violations. Cedar Creek has the highest total violations with 128, mostly overdue violations, meaning reports were consistently submitted late to DEC. Bay Park had 119 total violations, 65 overdue violations, and 54 water quality violations. Both plants are in Nassau County and each treat 58 million gallons of sewage per day. Patchogue had the most water quality violations with 87, but has since significantly upgraded their plant with cutting edge water quality treatment and energy efficiency measures.


“While some plants have taken steps to upgrade and modernize, others are falling behind. Huntington is a leader with upgraded technology, energy efficiency measures, climate change adaptation, and public education,” stated Tara Bono, LI Program Coordinator for CCE. “Long Island needs a holistic sewer plan, a plan that protects water quality, beaches and our health. We need to upgrade existing infrastructure and plan for new infrastructure in areas that are degrading.”

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Citizens Campaign for the Environment (CCE) empowers communities and advocates solutions for our shared environment and public health and is supported by over 80,000 members throughout New York State and Connecticut. www.citizenscampaign.org

updated by tbono  10/31/11