Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito were joined by residents of Bay Park and surrounding communities as they ”called out” the City of Long Beach and Nassau County at a “Don’t Dump on Hempstead Town” rally on Saturday. The rally participants are fighting a plan tentatively approved by Nassau County in August that would allow the City of Long Beach to send its raw sewage to the Bay Park Treatment Plant, where it would then be discharged into Reynolds Channel. The county plans to finalize the plan by September 15th.
“Bay Park is Long Beach’s neighbor, we are not its bathroom,” said Santino. “The City of Long Beach should not be balancing their budget on the backs of our residents while shipping their sewage into the backyard of Bay Park residents. And, Nassau County should not facilitate this bad idea.”
According to news reports, the City of Long Beach submitted a plan to Nassau County to convert its 70-year old sewage treatment plant to a transfer station and pipe Long Beach’s raw sewage in a pipe under Reynolds Channel to the county’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Santino and D’Esposito have stated that not “one once” of additional sewage should be diverted to Bay Park until an ocean outfall pipe is installed. Currently, the Bay Park Sewage Plant discharges sewage into Reynold’s Channel, a bay that is adjacent to residential homes. Many reports have linked the discharge to increased nitrogen levels in the bay, algae blooms, depleted fish stocks and the reported closure of shellfishing areas.
“When I was a young boy, you could catch fish and clams in this channel,” stated Santino. “You wouldn’t want to eat what you would catch here today. What’s more, the water in this area is too toxic to swim in because of the Bay Park Sewage Plant.”
According to reports, the Long Beach treatment plant needs $178 million in repairs and upgrades. Diverting the wastewater to Bay Park would only cost the municipality $50 million.
“Bay Park neighbors have had to deal with many struggles as a result of the sewage treatment plant being in their backyards,” noted Councilman D’Esposito. “The last thing these hard working residents want to hear is that someone else’s sewage is being pumped into their community.”
Bay Park suffered greatly in Sandy, when the storm surge flooded the plant with more than nine feet of water, sending raw sewage into the community and Reynolds Channel. After this crisis, the county has explored a number of options to help minimize the damage to the waters of Reynolds Channel. However, Santino and D’Esposito remain adamant that no more sewage should be pumped to Bay Park without an ocean outfall pipe.”
D’Esposito asked, “If Nassau County is already concerned enough about the bays that they would consider investing in this $360 million aqueduct plan, how could they even fathom transporting additional raw sewage to this plant while it still discharges sewage into the bay?”
According to reports, fish and shellfishing in these areas have been nearly destroyed by the sewage plant, and the water has become too toxic for swimming. This is not the first time Supervisor Santino has fought an ill-conceived plan to add more sewage to Bay Park. In 2008, Supervisor Santino fought the county’s plan to divert sewage from two village sewer operations to Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.
“Bay Park, East Rockaway and the surrounding areas are beautiful neighborhoods,” said Supervisor Santino. “I don’t understand why Nassau County and other municipalities believe that it is okay to turn these bedroom communities into bathroom communities.”
At the rally, Supervisor Santino and Councilman D’Esposito handed out fliers, urging neighbors to call the City of Long Beach and Nassau County to urge officials to cancel the deal.
“East Rockaway and Bay Park are already subjected to more than their fair share of sewage pumped into their neighborhoods, and the odor and health concerns that go along with that,” concluded Santino. “We are telling Nassau County and the City of Long Beach loud and clear, ‘Don’t dump on Bay Park.’”