More than $1.6 billion in federal funds, already committed to Nassau County and the Long Island Power Authority for damage caused by superstorm Sandy, has been paid, according to Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
The funding, which was announced in January, was released Friday, nearly two years after the storm devastated Long Island, destroying thousands of homes and businesses and causing millions of dollars in damage to public infrastructure.
The Nassau Department of Public Works will receive $729 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, largely for repairs and mitigation to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway, which the storm flooded with nearly 10 feet of water and knocked out of service for 57 days.
Repairs to the plant, which serves 550,000 Nassau residents, constitute the largest post-Sandy project on Long Island.
"This federal funding that we fought so hard to deliver is critical in ensuring Long Island is built back better and stronger after Sandy, and lightens the load for Long Island taxpayers," said Schumer (D-N.Y.) in a statement.
Nassau officials plan to use the federal funds to replace the plant's badly damaged electrical system, sludge dewatering equipment, raw sewage pumps, effluent screening and settling tanks. Much of the work has begun as county lawmakers agreed to borrow for the funding.
The county also plans to spend $37 million to build an 18-foot concrete wall and earthen berm around the plant to protect it from storm surges.
The funds also will be used to repair the Lawrence and Cedarhurst sewage treatment plants, 32 sewage pumping stations and to fix system pipes in Baldwin that ruptured during the storm, sending raw sewage into homes on Barnes Avenue.
LIPA is to receive $878 million in FEMA funding for repairs to its substations, electric distribution system and overhead wiring. The funding will also be used to replace storm-damaged electric meters and to pay for out-of-state crews that assisted in electrical repairs.
"This funding is great news for LIPA and the Nassau County Department of Public Works and is just what they need to rebuild and make crucial repairs and upgrades," said Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).
"These critical projects will help them both operate more efficiently, enhancing the quality of life for residents in the area and creating stronger infrastructure that can better withstand future storms."