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The Nassau legislature will hold hearings in the coming months on the status of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, which badly flooded during superstorm Sandy, knocking it out of operation, damaging major equipment and forcing the county to release partially treated sewage into Reynolds Channel.
In addition, two pipes ruptured under the storm pressure and sent raw sewage flowing into homes in Baldwin and East Rockaway.
On Saturday, Interim Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said the legislature would hold multiple hearings into the storm response, including concerns about the Bay Park plant and on the failure of LIPA to restore power sooner to hundreds of thousands of Nassau County residents.
“We will do this as expeditious as possible,” said Gonsalves. “But we need to scrutinize the whole thing in order to find out solutions.”
The Bay Park hearings were requested on Wednesday by Democratic Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) and Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), ranking member of the Public Works Committee.
In a letter to Gonsalves and Public Works chairman Vincent Muscarella (R-West Hempstead), the Democratic lawmakers said the hearings should address:
*The reasons why plant equipment could not withstand the storm surge;
*The timetable for ending the discharge of 65 million gallons a day of sewage into the Channel, which ultimately flows into the Atlantic Ocean;
*Plans to repair the environmental damage to the Channel and Western Bays;
*The steps taken by the departments of Health and Public Works to protect residents whose homes are contaminated by raw sewage;
*The status of up to $400 million in maintenance to upgrade the Bay Park and Cedar Creek sewage treatment plants.
“We strongly believe that the failure to conduct a thorough hearing into the true extent of this public crisis and the adequacy of the administration’s efforts to address it would constitute a grave dereliction of duty on the part of the legislature,” the Democrats wrote.