Hempstead Town officials are pushing back against a Nassau County and Long Beach plan to pump the city’s wastewater to the county’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant over concerns that it will worsen odor problems and water pollution.
Nassau County last month approved a $50 million plan for Long Beach to divert wastewater to the plant in East Rockaway as part of the county’s shared services plan, and is expected to finalize the plan by Friday.
Long Beach is in the process of securing $18 million in county and state grants to convert its sewage treatment plant into a pump station. The city plans to transfer treated sewage under Sunrise Highway and then through a yet-to-be-built, three-mile-long outflow pipe into the ocean at the county’s Cedar Creek plant in Wantagh.
Standing in front of the Bay Park plant on Saturday, Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino said he wants Long Beach to halt the plan until either the ocean outflow pipe is built or a direct pipe is built from Bay Park. Santino said the city is seeking to save $128 million by diverting sewage rather than repairing its aging treatment plant.
“We are here to say don’t dump on Hempstead Town,” said Santino, who was joined by town and East Rockaway Village officials. “We are Long Beach’s neighbor, not its bathroom.”
Long Beach currently releases its treated sewage, known as effluent, into Reynolds Channel on its back bay. Under the plan, the city would transfer about 3 million to 5 million gallons of sewage per day to be treated at Bay Park, which discharges about 55 million gallons of sewage per day into Reynolds Channel and has a capacity to treat about 70 million gallons per day. Long Beach officials said diverting the city’s sewage would limit the amount of effluent flowing into Reynolds Channel and reduce nitrogen and ammonia levels.
“We are proud to work on a shared services partnership that will save tens of millions of taxpayer dollars,” Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said in a statement. “The ocean outfall pipe is a critical element of the project, which will eliminate the discharge into Reynolds Channel, finally cleaning up the bay for all the families of Long Beach, the Town and Nassau County.”
Santino said the additional sewage would exacerbate odor problems and water pollution near homes in Bay Park and East Rockaway, and that the effluent has made the water unusable for fishing or swimming.
“Bringing additional sewage brings additional odors into the community,” Santino said. “They should not hang the sewage of Long Beach onto the burden we already have. To put it here without some means of taking it into the Atlantic is an environmental nightmare.”