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Hearings for Sewer Plant Privatization Plan in Works

Legislator requests public sessions in legislature to answer questions about proposal for private companies to take over facilities.

The  Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA) has lobbied for hearings on a plan to privatize the county’s sewage treatment system — and they may get their wish.

Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) informed the NCCCA that she will request hearings on the privatization plan at legislature meetings this spring. Ford said Wednesday that she submitted a request to hold hearings on Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s , which would involve selling or leasing the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh, Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway and Glen Cove Sewage Plant to a private company.

Ford, whose fourth legislative district covers the area serviced by the Bay Park plant, said she had concerns about Mangano’s plan, which is aimed at closing a more than $300 million budget deficit. She said the hearings would be aimed at addressing how privatization would impact the county’s three plants from a fiscal and environmental perspective as well as their workers.

“I’m not totally sold on the idea,” Ford said. “I do have concerns and that is why I want to hold hearings.”

Ford could prove to be a swing vote on whether the privatization plan gets the go-ahead. The Republicans control the legislature 10-9. 

The county has issued a March 31 deadline for its request-for- proposals process to help determine a potential private operator for the three plants. The three companies in the running include British sewage treatment system supplier Severn Trent PLC; Paris-based Veolia Environment SA, which has its American headquarters in Lombard, Ill.; and United Water, Inc. of Harrington Park, N.J.

Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley was hired by the county as a consultant to oversee the RFP process.

NCCCA founder Claudia Borecky said Tuesday that she hopes the upcoming hearings will raise important issues about the potential plan before it comes to a vote. Borecky pointed out research conducted by the NCCCA that shows sewage rates are currently about $185 per year, but if plants are privately operated they could be roughly that same amount on a monthly basis.

“It’s a back-door tax,” Borecky said of the privatization plan.

Nassau Chief Deputy County Executive Rob Walker emphasized Wednesday that Mangano will make sure that residents are kept up to the speed on the privatization proposal.

“County Executive Mangano will soon hold public informational sessions that will inform the public of the facts and solutions for a productive way to move forward,” Walker said.

Frank March 26, 2012 at 04:16 PM
This is stupid beyond the realm of stupid. Stop trying to Band-Aid the situation. Private or not, you can never "heal" the western bays as long as you pipe waste into it. Extend the outflow pipes into the Atlantic like Nassau should have done in the first place. Allow the Western Bays to return back to health. Shame on all our representatives for being so near-sighted.
Frank March 27, 2012 at 02:11 PM
County Executive Mungo is blatantly avoiding the one solution that would erase South Nassau's shame: Extend the outflow pipe in Baypark into the Atlantic.
Frank March 28, 2012 at 03:29 PM
I implore the Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA) to conduct research on the issues and hope it concludes, as have many environmentalists and concerned citizens on Long Island, that the outflow pipes must be extended into the Atlantic. to NCCCA: Don't get lost in the private-public melee. The fundamental issue is the relentless assault of the Western bays ecosystem. No matter how "clean" the waste is, it's still waste and we're pumping multiple millions of gallons of it a day into a small body of water.

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