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Contractor selected to start $439M South Shore sewage project

More than 7 miles of piping will be

More than 7 miles of piping will be put under Sunrise Highway to transport treated sewage to the ocean. Credit: NYSDEC & NCDPW

New York State officials have designated a contractor to start a $439 million project that will divert sewage out of Reynolds Channel and into the ocean by laying miles of pipe under Sunrise Highway.

Work is set to begin early next year to eventually transport sewage from Long Beach and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway under Sunrise Highway to an ocean outfall pipe at Cedar Creek in Wantagh. The project is designed to restore the ecosystem and water quality in the Western Bays along the South Shore.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced the contract for the project was awarded Friday to Western Bays Constructors, including Lawrence sewer builder John P. Picone Inc. and Bronx tunneling and wastewater treatment company Northeast Remsco Construction.

"From damaged ecosystems to problems with shoreline resiliency, Long Island’s coastal environment has suffered immensely from decades of nitrogen pollution and it must be stopped," Cuomo said in a statement. "Along with our local partners, New York has worked tirelessly to address this ecological threat through the innovative Bay Park Conveyance Project and today’s selection of a design-build contractor is an important step in advancing this critical project."

The three-year project will divert 55 million gallons of treated sewage pumped daily from Bay Park and remove 95% of nitrogen currently pumped into the Western Bays. State officials are working with Nassau County to fund the project with state and federal grants and $460 million in bonds approved by Nassau County legislators. The Bay Park plant previously received $830 million in state and federal funding, with much of it going to rebuild after superstorm Sandy.

The joint state Department of Environmental Conservation and Nassau County project will reroute treated sewage using 7.3 miles of new piping under Sunrise Highway to Cedar Creek, where it will be pumped three miles into the Atlantic Ocean, off Jones Beach. The project aims to restore the environment for storm protection, fishing and recreation in Reynolds Channel.

The county also approved a $64.4 million bond last year to convert the Long Beach sewer treatment plant into a pump station and connect a pipe to Bay Park that will reroute 5 million gallons of raw sewage per day to be treated at Bay Park.

"Today’s announcement marks another affirmative step forward in the transformation and revitalization of our invaluable Western Bays," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. "This innovative best value design-build team will capably and expeditiously build out the infrastructure needed to improve water quality and rejuvenate critical marshland and marine life in the bays."

State officials said they awarded the contract under a "design-build" approach to reduce expenses and accelerate construction. Contractors expect to save more than $150 million on the project and have it complete in nearly half the time than if they had extended consulting contracts.

It goes for a vote before the county legislature on Nov. 23. The contract must be approved by the Nassau County Finance Control Board, the county comptroller and Curran before it is submitted to the state attorney general and comptroller for review and a DEC permit.

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