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FEMA reimburses Nassau for Bay Park work, senators announce

Partially treated sewage continues to pour into Reynolds

Partially treated sewage continues to pour into Reynolds Channel from the Bay Park Plant. This view is looking east, Long Beach is on the right. (Nov. 20, 2012) Credit: Doug Kuntz

New York's two U.S. senators announced Monday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency will reimburse Nassau County more than $4 million for sludge dewatering work at the superstorm Sandy-damaged Bay Park Sewage Treatment facility.

"We all remember the tremendous damage at Bay Park during Superstorm Sandy, which caused an immediate public health threat to the communities serviced by these facilities," Schumer said in a news release.

"This much-needed federal funding will reimburse the Nassau County Department of Public Works for their efforts . . . and will help make sure local residents are not entirely on the hook for expenses incurred during Sandy," Schumer said.

The $4.6 million in funding will reimburse the county's Department of Public Works for rental of temporary sludge dewatering and odor control systems, mobilization equipment and materials, weekly labor to operate the systems, labor for extended and weekend operations, demobilization of equipment and materials and contract costs.

Dewatering is usually the final step in large-scale wastewater treatment when water is removed from solids in the sewage.

The storm wreaked havoc on Long Island, flooding the dewatering facility with 12 feet of saltwater, officials said, making it impossible to treat sewage properly and causing a sanitation and health hazard for communities serviced by the plant.

"Bay Park suffered severe damage and this federal funding will provide much needed reimbursement for Nassau County Department of Public Works," Gillibrand said in a news release.

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the nonprofit Citizens Campaign for the Environment, also welcomed the news.

"The dewatering is a critical and essential component to the treatment plant," she said in an interview. "This is one more giant step forward."

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano thanked the senators: "Together with the Federal and State governments, we will continue to strengthen the facility's infrastructure so that it is resilient against future storms."

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