You Down with OOP? Governor now on board.

January's bumper crop of seaweed. yes, january!

January’s bumper crop of seaweed. yes, january!

Please excuse my 90’s hip hop reference that no one who cares about this will know!

OOP, of course is the Ocean Outfall Pipe.

Next in our ongoing Ocean and Bay waters saga – not to be confused with fresh drinking water.

ok how about this reference:

Bay Park Sewage, a plant barely alive.
We can rebuild it.
We have the technology
We have the capability to build the first bionic sewage pipe
Bay Park will be the plant.
Better than it was before
Better, stronger, faster
It’s just a matter of the money.
It’s the six [hundred] million dollar pipe (cue iconic 70’s theme song-nuh nuh nee new).

Thanks to Gerry Ottavino for his efforts on these matters and helping keep everyone informed!

On Tuesday, February 11, 2014 local groups met with Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano to call for refurbishment of the Bay Park sewage treatment plant AND to call for the outfall pipe to send the treated waste out of the bay and to the ocean where it will not stagnate as it currently does in our western bays.  headway is being made.

Proponents of clean waters have asked for an extra layer of treatment on the sewage before going to the ocean, but that just may be a bridge too far.

Ever wonder why seaweed is crazy out of control at our beaches and around town?
The treated sewage from the Bay Park plant roams around our western bays for weeks or months at a time before finally making its way out the inlet to the ocean. New water takes a month to fully circulate the bay, of course the whole time the plant is still releasing more treated sewage every day.

Because these pollutants in the bay actually make the seaweed grow many times beyond it’s normal size and habitat, we have seen the beach covered with seaweed for literally an entire season last year. the year before it was collecting on the inlet where it rotted and the smell literally sent officials in to see if it was dangerous.

I am presenting these pages from The Western Bays Coalition, made up of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Operation SPLASH, The Nature Conservancy, Point Lookout Civic Association and Sludge Stoppers to help explain.

Here is the full document “Save Our Western Bays”.
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i was about to publish this story and was kindly informed by PLCA’s Gerry Ottavino, who has been tireless on this, that Governor Cuomo has responded, backed the plan, and is calling for additional Federal money.

press release from the Governor’s Office:

State of New York | Executive Chamber
Andrew M. Cuomo | Governor
For Immediate Release: February 11, 2014
GOVERNOR CUOMO SEEKS FEDERAL FUNDING FOR OCEAN OUTFALL AT THE BAY PARK WASTEWATER TREATMENT PLANT

Projects To Establish A More Resilient Clean Water Infrastructure Are Set To Begin

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today applauded the progress toward repairing the badly-damaged Bay Park waste water treatment plant and called for additional funding for the ocean outfall at the Bay Park wastewater treatment plant. Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano joined the Governor in calling for additional funding to construct an ocean outfall pipe leading from the plant well out into the Atlantic Ocean to improve water quality in the back bay and protect extensive marsh islands that serve as a natural barrier to flood inundation.

“Superstorm Sandy hit Nassau County hard and we need to continue to work to build back better, stronger and smarter,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have already secured an agreement from the federal government to provide $810 million to repair and upgrade the Bay Park plant and collection system, and ensure the plant can withstand a 500-year storm event. We also have the opportunity to significantly improve water quality and resiliency in the back bay by constructing an ocean outfall pipe and are requesting additional funding for this important project.”

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo for his incredible efforts thus far in securing critical funding needed to repair the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant after the ravages of Superstorm Sandy. More than one year ago I joined with Citizens Campaign for the Environment, SPLASH and communities bordering the Western Bays to call for the construction of an ocean outfall. We will continue to work with our state and federal officials to make this dream a reality and ensure the long-term health of the Western Bays for future generations.”

The Bay Park WWTP currently discharges effluent to a shallow wetland and back bay area north of Long Beach Island. Moving the outfall well into the ocean will dramatically improve water quality, protect a large complex of marsh islands from nitrogen-induced damage and allow further assessments of possible nitrogen treatment requirements at the Bay Park facility to proceed while progress is made on these badly-needed projects. The marsh lands dampen waves and serve as an important natural defense barrier against coastal storm surges. The outfall could potentially cost between $600 million and $700 million.

Resiliency efforts have already begun. Engineering designs and bid packages have been prepared on the initial, major components of the Bay Park rebuild program, including the electrical distribution system and protective perimeter levees. Further efforts are underway to repair 31 major pumps to avoid the recurrence of sewage overflows into residential communities and to implement the Barns Avenue sewer interceptor repair. Future work at the plant will include rebuilding numerous complex treatment systems damaged by Sandy that are still vulnerable to failure.

The Governor has directed the New York State Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to work with Nassau County to make zero-interest loans available so the County can undertake all repair and resiliency work as soon as possible. The loans are a critical bridge to the initial $810 million in federal funding, which will be provided as reimbursement for completed projects.

High level State and County officials met again this past Thursday to review all project elements and to ensure effective financial, engineering, and environmental coordination going forward.

In conjunction with the potential ocean outfall project and to improve resiliency and water quality, the State and County will also explore the option of consolidating and removing highly-exposed barrier island wastewater treatment plants, such as the City of Long Beach’s facility.

Currently the Bay Park plant treats about 50 million gallons of sewage a day and discharges to a marsh island/back bay area north of Long Beach Island.

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Sewage Press Conference at Bay Park Plant

Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, East Rockaway, NY.  Photo Courtesy NCDPW.

Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, East Rockaway, NY. Photo Courtesy NCDPW.

On Tuesday, May 14, 2013 a large turnout stood up at the Bay Park sewage treatment plant in East Rockaway to fight for Sandy funds to fix the ailing plant.

The plant has regularly spilled sewage into the bay and Reynold’s Channel and that has gotten completely out of control In the wake of Superstorm Sandy.

Residents stood up and called on New York State and FEMA to free up the $1.3 Billion from the Sandy Recovery bill funds for this project.

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The meeting was attended by many local politicians: County Executive Ed Mangano, State Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg, County Legislator Denise Ford. There were representatives from numerous civic groups: Operation SPLASH, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Sludge Busters and Point Lookout Civic Association’s Gerry Ottavino was there amongst many others.

State Assemblyman Weisenberg said he would fight in Albany to see the funds released.

County Executive Mangano basically said that the South Shore, especially East Rockaway and Bay Park residents, are being abused by the sewage situation and it is not acceptable. We agree.

Maintenance that should be done every four or five years hasn’t been done in 22 years.

To get involved on this issue, check out Long Beach resident Scott Bochner’s Sludge Stoppers who can be contacted through their Facebook Group, Sludge Stoppers Task Force.

I sure hope Tuesday’s headline about County executive Mangano’s office now being subpoenaed for the Sandy money that they’ve already gotten, doesn’t stop this Sandy Money reaching where we need it here to fix the Bay Park treatment plant…

AG Subpoena’s Mangano’s Office In Sandy Probe

Point Lookout Civic Association Environmental Committee Chair Gerald Ottavino just had a letter to Newsday published about Nassau County DRINKING water problems.

Water War on Nassau’s Border.

When they say that the government will get you coming and going this is exactly what they mean! 😉

Walk A Mile in Our Shoes Goes to Washington DC

Photos and story by Sue Hecht

Photos and Story By Sue Hecht

a friend of mine had an interesting week last week, so I asked her to share it…


Story and Photos By Sue Hecht

The day started at 6:00 AM at Island Park Train Station.

As I get out of my car, there are LOADS of Paparazzi. Wasn’t really expecting that (I guess I thought that they would be in Washington). So, we all had to go on autopilot and get interviewed.

Ed Mangano, [Nassau County Executive] did a speech, and [Suffolk County Executive]  Steve Bellone. I had NO idea who he was, and I was so excited to see Erin Coltin from News 12, I asked him to take our picture, they both were hysterical over that. Then I got one of the three of us. I would say we left about 7-7:30AM.

photo by Sue Hecht

Getting Ready for the Trip to DC

During the bus ride, I get to know more people. Speaking to Peter (The Main Organizer of Walk A Mile). I learned he has had many losses in his life (which I can relate to) and he shares that he always relates back to the Book of Job and how he was given everything by God, then it was taken away. Job when asked by God about it said he still had his faith and God. It’s a bittersweet story for me.

photo by Sue Hecht

Support Us!

We stop about 3/4 of the way through in Delaware. I want to buy all the cute stuff in the gift shop (the girl in me) they have all “sea” kind of stuff. I really need a lint brush, because I don’t want to look like a mess in The House. No lint brushes I settle for wet-ones.

photo by Sue Hecht

On the walk from Union Square to the House Of Representatives

I have learned more stories about the people on the bus, making friends. We are briefed as news comes in. We got the permit to do the walk, then we were told we have been INVITED IN to the House, the idea then was no protesting.

We are able to do a Walk from Union Square to the House, Single File like in school 🙂 we are allowed to hold Flags when we walk and then give them up when we get to the house. I have never been to Washington DC to tour, So this trip is exciting for me – and yet, sad that we have to advocate so hard to get help.

goldenticket by Sue Hecht

The “Golden Ticket” into the House Of Representatives

We meet up with Peter King, and there is NO paparazzi except for the ones that came with us. We pose for pictures then go to the House. The House is just beautiful, Marble everywhere, magnificent statues and paintings that are unbelievable as well as the ceiling I imagine it was like the Cistene Chapel (never been there either).

Photo By Sue Hecht

Walk A Mile In our Shoes…On The Steps of the House Of Representatives

We get to watch the voting on the various Ammendments to the Sandy Relief Aid Bill. Nita Lowy is a superstar on the floor supporting NY. Ed Mangano sets up for us to go someplace to eat dinner, it’s closed so we walk a bit to the Dubliner (Irish Fare). We get word that the Final vote will occur very soon so we are in a rush to get out of there and get back to the House.

One of the Politicians tells us if they rule in our favor we can let out a little cheer. The vote is very close and yet we win and the Bill is passed. We let out cheers as Representatives are looking up at us, we get yelled at by the Speaker.

It was WELL WORTH it!

Photo By Sue Hecht

Walk A Mile.. at The Capitol Biulding, Washington DC

I am disappointed that there are 180 votes against the bill I found that to be disturbing. How would these people feel if this tragedy happened to them?! I am worried and feel we will need follow up on this Bill as NYC Fiscal dept already has a memo out that $ will be out in 2014.

Photo by Sue Hecht

Island Park’s message to Washington, DC

People need help now, I also worry that the money will go to Beaches, parkways and wonder really how much help the communities will be getting.

All in all it was a long day and I believe our work is NOT done yet.

from George:
Sue Hecht is one of many Island Park residents hit hard by Sandy.
For some perspective for people in and out of Point Lookout: Island Park, and East Rockaway in my opinion were slammed harder than most of Long Beach and much worse than here at Point Lookout. I know people on the bay here got hit hard! That damage is equivalent to broad swaths of the entire towns of IP and ER.   This is going to be a long road for these neighbors and we need to keep them in mind and stand with them.  I agree, the work is NOT done yet.
Thank You Sue for representng us and sharing your story!