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State Budget Includes Funding for Bays Pollution Study

Money for research comes from Environmental Protection Fund.

The recently approved New York State budget includes $300,000 in funding for a pollution study of the Western Bays that includes Reynolds Channel.

The funding comes under the Environmental Protection Fund and will provide for a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study to assess the pollution already affecting the South Shore waterway and to prevent further pollution such as excessive sewage, according to a press release from Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Long Beach).

Local environmental groups and civic organizations were instrumental in ensuring that the funds were in the budget, Weisenberg said, and cited the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Point Lookout Civic Association, Sludge Stoppers, Operation Splash, and Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee.

Scott Bochner, a Long Beach resident and co-found of the Sludge Stoppers Task Force, said in a statement that the study will show what the Bay Park sewage treatment plant in East Rockaway has been discharging into Reynolds Channel.

“Once we show the federal government and the DEC, we will be able to get federal dollars to not only upgrade the Bay Park plant but also the Long Beach sewage treatment plant,” said Bochner, .

According to Weisenberg's office, Western Bays are home to four sewage treatment plants and one power plant that discharge 64.5 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis, and have amassed several violations over the years for releasing certain materials into the bays. Beginning in 1998, the Western Bays have been on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s list of impaired water bodies, first for pathogens and again in 2006 for excessive nutrients. The Western Bays includes the Long Beach barrier island and Jones Inlet and spans to the Suffolk County line.

“It is imperative that we persist in the lengthy process of identifying damages and seeking cleanup,” Weisenberg said. “Once we understand the science, we can take steps to implement new pollution controls to reduce the impact.”

Frank April 25, 2012 at 03:22 PM
@ Weisenberg. Really? "Lengthy process... understand the science... reduce the impact? All I read here is that you endorse an expensive taxpayer funded study that may take years to complete! Do you just assume your constituents are complete idiots or does it come natural to you to blab without rhyme or reason? Spend $300,000 so lab geeks test water for years just to figure out that dumping 7 million gallons a day of sewage, along with 11,000 gallons a day of bleach, will do the Western Bays environment no good at all? WHAT A JOKE! All that fertilizer (Eutrophication) feeds giant algae blooms which then suck the oxygen out of the water (hypoxia), leading to massive fishkills and We got HISTORICAL FACT on our side buddy. FACT - There has been significant increases in fishkills since the sewage plants first began operation. FACT - Poor pollution controls over the past decade has caused major headaches for everyone. FACT - Shellfishing has been practically banned on the South Shore. All of these FACTS are backed up with hundreds of news articles. But you'd rather spend $300,000 to figure that out. STOP WASTING TAXPAYER MONEY! Spend the $300,000 instead on extending the outflow pipes into the Atlantic Ocean. I GUARANTEE that the Western bays will improve dramatically within 1 year!!!
Frank April 25, 2012 at 03:58 PM
@ Patch. Please get the facts straight on the Power Plant effluent: It's not "WasteWater". That's inaccurate. It's cooling water discharge. The major problem with the cooling water discharge from the Power Plant is thermal energy. Raising water temperature causes: 1. a decrease in dissolved oxygen - less oxygen in water leads to hypoxia (see first comment) 2. Population collapse. Higher temperatures mess with fish biology. 3. Bacterial growth. Bacteria love warm water temperatures. What you are attempting to describe to the public is the water draw for cooling the power plant. To everyone reading this article, the issue is the single pass cooling system otherwise known as "once through cooling" (OTC). The best way to tackle thermal pollution into the Western Bays is to convert the power plant's OTC system to closed cycle (that means installing cooling towers). By installing Cooling Towers, you recover up to 99% of the cooling water that would otherwise end up in the Western Bays. So, instead of drawing 64.5 million gallons a day of bay water and pumping it back at higher temperatures, you'll only have to draw 645,000 gallons a day of make up water for the evaporative effects and eliminate thermal discharge into the bay! See, I just saved Nassau $300,000 and time. i hope we can all get on the same page; Extend the outflow pipes out of the Western Bays into the Atlantic and force the power plant to curb its appetite for bay water
Stephen J. Bronner April 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM
Thank you for this information, Frank.
Frank April 25, 2012 at 06:29 PM
@ Stephen. no problem. This issue has been on the table since the 1970s. There has been many studies in the past; 40 years later and we need more studies? It's all SPIN! No NC official wants to do anything about it because the cost to extend the Bay Park outflow pipes was estimated at $200 million in 1980s dollars. that's $600 million in 2012 dollars!!!! That's right $600 million! Where Nassau County pulled that number from is still a mystery (i have a few dirty theories). With no money and NIFA holding the purse strings, we're going nowhere fast. BTW, EPA Region 2 in NYC did a environmental impact study in 1972 for the construction of wastewater treatment facilities on Long Island. Here is a summary of their conclusions: 1. The construction and operation of collection systems and effective treatment facilities are essential to the protection fo LI's water supply. 2. As soon as technology is demostrated, LI should implement ground-water recharge for the optimum utilization of its water resources. 3. A concerted effort must be made to preserve the remaining marshland habitat. 4. water resource planning and management must be implemented to insure both effective and efficient utilization of available water resources. 5. Maximum utilization necessitates the use of ground water recharge and OCEAN discharge of treated wastewater. this was back in 1972. We failed. Where are the repercussions? Do we really need another study people?
Frank April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
For those that want to read that document; it's available on the National Service Center for environmental protection publications http://nepis.epa.gov/ select advanced search enter "Environmental Impact Statement On Wastewater Treatment Facilities Construction Grants For Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York" in "what to look for" field.
Frank April 25, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Back in my day, I remember people swimming in Mill river, the channel and the backbays. I used to remember large shellfish harvests, including oysters! Do that today and you'll end up with some flesh eating bacteria or the worst case of E coli on the planet.
Frank April 25, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Another great study by the EPA... in 1976 Title: Effects of Sewering on Long Island's Shellfishing Industry: A Supplement to the 1972 Final Environmental Impact Statement on Waste Water Treatment Facilities Construction Grants for Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York Here is an excerpt summary of their conclusions: "If the present sewering programs were proceeding in the absence of efforts to develop mitigation measures, there would be reason for concern about the potential effects, including possible injury to shellfishing industry." 40 years later and so accurate, makes you wonder how silly the calls for "more studies" are. Oh, and in case you missed it, Bay Park is LI's worst sewage treatment plant. http://www.newsday.com/long-island/nassau/report-bay-park-sewage-plant-is-li-s-worst-1.3286430
Frank April 25, 2012 at 07:31 PM
Jennifer Smith wrote an excellent article on the topic of rerouting sewage in the western bays. http://www.jennifersmithjournalist.com/word.html , select "westernbays" document.
Frank April 27, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Where's Weisenberg's two cents? How about Nassau's? Why not throw in a word or two from the DEC and the EPA? This is a carnival show... with the "call for more studies" being one of the long rides these carnies are playing the south shore shellfishing industry and its residents at the tune of $300,000... for naught. To everyone tired of smelling human waste on those sunny days, barbequeing in the backyard, and those amateur fishermen that simply want to clam in clean waters, let's hope that somebody is going to cut through this muck and help salvage what was once Long Island's best salt water estuary.
Frank April 30, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Amazing. More people are worried about feral cats than the ecological devastation wrought upon the Western Bays by Nassau County for the past 40 years. Maybe if we dump 7 million gallons a day of Cat urine into the bay, we can accomplish something?
Frank May 01, 2012 at 04:00 PM
From the original date of this article, as of today, 49 million gallons of human waste ended up in the Western Bays. By Month's end, we'll be at 259 million gallons. Trend that out for a year and the Western Bays will receive 2.56 BILLION gallons of human waste from little 'ol Bay Park. And we need ANOTHER study. Weisenberg, you're a master politician, Spend a little to avoid spending a lot. Too bad they don't give out razzies for the political crowd.
Frank May 04, 2012 at 06:28 PM
We added 21 million gallons of waste into the Western Bays. New total is now 70 million gallons. To think, we dumped 76.8 BILLION gallons of sewage in the last 30 years into the Western Bays. Congratulations to Nassau's Bay Park plant for conintuing to be Long Island's #1 polluter. Look forward to the massive fish kills this summer... should be epic.
Frank May 11, 2012 at 02:39 PM
As of today, we added an additional 49 million gallons of human waste into the Western Bays. New total is now 119 million gallons dumped. Does Nassau County qualify for worst polluter of the year award? Stay tuned.

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