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Glen Cove officials revamp efforts to reopen city's Crescent Beach by spring 2020

A Melville-based company has presented officials with three potential treatment methods to address bacteria that tests indicate is due to animal, not human, waste. 

A view of Crescent Beach in Glen Cove

A view of Crescent Beach in Glen Cove on Friday. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Officials are taking steps to reopen a Glen Cove beach that’s been closed to the public for the past decade.

Earlier this month the city hired a company to develop a treatment method that could potentially bring bathers back to Crescent Beach, a secluded sliver on Long Island Sound that has been closed since 2009 because of high levels of bacteria.

“There’s a generation of children here who have never been able to enjoy that beach,” said Glen Cove Mayor Timothy Tenke. “It’s a jewel that’s been too long removed from our residents.”

Melville-based H2M architects + engineers presented three potential treatment methods to the city last week, said Lou Saulino, director of Glen Cove’s Department of Public Works.

One option is a stormwater filter placed near a stream that feeds into the Sound that would treat the bacteria with a pesticide. Another alternative would be to pump water through a structure that inactivates the bacteria with ultraviolet light. H2M also proposed installing a subsurface pipe that would convey the water a “sufficient distance from the beach,” an H2M report reads.

Nassau County has provided $200,000 for the project through an intermunicipal agreement. The County Legislature authorized the funding in July, according to Legis. Delia DeRiggi-Whitton (D-Glen Cove), who helped secure the funding.

H2M is expected to complete the report in the next two months and decide which method would be best for the beach, Saulino said.

Tenke said he is hoping to get the systems running by the fall and to see the beach opened by the spring of 2020.

“I had anticipated that this would be done long ago,” Tenke said at a March 12 city council meeting where the funding for the project was approved. “But I’m going on a different tack at this point — to clean the water before it reaches the beach, as opposed to trying now to pinpoint a single source of contamination.”

Agencies have tried to pin down the source for years. Officials first suspected faulty home septic systems along the stream. The county commissioned a study to investigate water discharged from homes near the beach in 2017. The state Department of Environmental Conservation then investigated the area by placing video cameras in the pipes and nontoxic dyes in nearby septic systems.

But last year, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency testing found that the septic systems weren’t at fault and that the high-bacteria levels stem from animal, not human, waste.

 The state DEC conducted another round of DNA sampling in September to confirm the EPA’s findings. The results of that report, sent to the DEC on Monday  show the main source of contamination was from birds and dogs.

According to the DEC, it’s likely the problem is the result of animal droppings and the beach’s location near the stream.

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