Glen Cove mansion owner cited for sewage leaks

Jimmy Ziegen, water service maintainer of the Glen Jimmy Ziegen, water service maintainer of the Glen Cove Water Department, is seen on July 19, 2013, showing a sewage pipe that was ordered capped in Glen Cove. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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State and Nassau County officials have cited a Gold Coast mansion owner for allowing raw sewage to discharge into wetlands adjacent to Crescent Beach in Glen Cove.

Earlier this month, the county health department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued violations to owner Marvin Schein for the flow, which continued Friday from a pipe on his Crescent Beach Road property.

"These outflows are illegal into this wetlands area under New York State law," said Glen Cove Mayor Ralph Suozzi. Engineers hired by the city to trace the source of the bacteria that have closed Crescent Beach to the public since 2009 discovered earlier this month that the pipe was discharging again, he said.

A city worker Friday dug out the pipe, which had been covered with sand and dirt. The pipe, which juts out from a dirt road, was spurting smelly water into the lush wetlands.

Schein has known about the problem for more than two years, according to a July 10 letter sent to him by the health department. Schein told the health department in May 2011 that he would close the pipe and monitor the situation, the letter said.

But in the spring of last year, the health department again found sewage flowing from the pipe into wetlands, the letter says. A month later, the department discovered the pipe was capped, after it cited Schein for "exposed sewage on the ground," according to the letter.

The health department's letter said the discharge was a public health hazard and ordered Schein to weld the pipe shut within three days. On Friday, the pipe was capped but not welded and was leaking.

Schein said he did not receive the letter. "I don't know anything about it," he said by phone Friday. Schein said he had another call, hung up and did not return a subsequent call.

Suozzi said Schein was aware of the problem. "He knew about it when I talked to him the other day," Suozzi said Friday. "We talked about this problem specifically just two days ago. He called me up."

On July 5, the DEC ticketed Schein for dumping wastewater without a permit, polluting waters of a marine district and disposing of an offensive substance in public waters.

"DEC staff is currently investigating the matter and is poised to take enforcement action to bring about a permanent closure of the discharging pipe," spokeswoman Aphrodite Montalvo said in an email.

About 30 to 40 homes in the area don't connect to the sewer system, Suozzi said. Their septic systems have been suspected by city officials as being the source of the bacteria at Crescent Beach.

Schein, a well-known art collector, is the son of Henry Schein, the founder of Henry Schein Inc., a Melville-based medical supply firm that is Long Island's largest company in terms of revenue.

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