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Lawmakers, activists call on funding for ocean outfall pipe
Nassau lawmakers, environmental advocates and civic activists have launched a campaign for the federal government to build an outfall pipe to transport treated sewage from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant into the Atlantic Ocean.
On Friday, a bipartisan group of elected officials, led by Senate Majority co-Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), signed onto a letter directed to Craig Fugate, administer of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
The letter, co-signed by a host of business and environmental groups, argues that an ocean outfall pipe is needed to protect the ecosystems of the Western Bays, which has high documented levels of ammonia and nitrates, primarily from Bay Park.
“Discharging Bay Park effluent further away from high density coastal communities and sensitive enclosed embayments is the safest and most prudent course of action, as it will obviate the threat of raw sewage damaging property; closing our beaches; defiling the embayment; and undermining the critical salt marsh islands,” the letter states.
Meanwhile, on Monday, Nassau Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) wrote separate letters to Fugate and Donovan calling for an $800 million commitment to build the outfall pipe. Currently, effluent from Bay Park discharges into Reynolds Channel.
“Our South Shore communities rely on our beaches, recreational and commercial fishing and tourism to survive,” Denenberg wrote. “These communities are struggling to rebuild after Sandy.”
Earlier this month, FEMA committed to spending $730 million to harden, upgrade and restore the East Rockaway plant, which was badly damaged by Sandy. Sources said an outfall pipe would likely need to be funded with Community Development Block Grant funds from HUD.
On Tuesday, Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano met with Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and other state officials in Albany to discuss post-Sandy infrastructure projects, including the potential construction of the outfall pipe, said county spokesman Brian Nevin.