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Mangano seeks much more FEMA cash for Sandy sewage fix

Nassau County Executives Ed Mangano is shown giving

Nassau County Executives Ed Mangano is shown giving his State of the County address at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury. (Jan. 10, 2014) Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams, Jr.

WASHINGTON -- Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and Sen. Charles Schumer said they're "optimistic" after pressing FEMA's chief Wednesday to approve an $859 million project -- up from $730 million -- to fix superstorm Sandy damage to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Mangano also said they asked Craig Fugate, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to work with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on a separate $600 million pipeline project from the Bay Park plant to pump treated sewage into the Atlantic Ocean. That request is in its initial stages.

Fugate declined to comment as he left the 15-minute meeting in Schumer's Capitol Hill office on the $1.4 billion in projects for the plant in East Rockaway that serves 550,000 people.

Schumer afterward said he expected a FEMA decision on the Bay Park plant repair and fortification in two weeks.

Mangano, accompanied by 11 Nassau County public works and sanitary aides, engineers and consultants, called the meeting "extremely productive and encouraging."

Mangano said he told Fugate the $730 million approved in federal funding falls short of the projected costs for repair and fortifying the Bay Park plant, and for other costs to address the Sandy damage.

Fugate said he is going to give the larger amount "very serious consideration," according to Schumer. "We're optimistic that we are going to get it, but he hasn't committed to it yet."

Schumer said he and Mangano also discussed federal funds for the $600 million Bay Park plant's ocean pipeline as an alternative to spending $350 million to repair Sandy damage to the Long Beach sewage treatment plant.

Schumer acknowledged the daunting cost and size of the two Bay Park plans.

"This is the largest public works project from Sandy there is and it's probably the largest sewage treatment project FEMA has ever dealt with," he said.

Sandy knocked out the Bay Park plant in East Rockaway for two days in October 2012, flooding its pumping and electrical systems and resulting in the release of raw sewage.

FEMA already has approved a $730 million plan to repair and upgrade Bay Park, but hasn't set aside the money.

Schumer and Mangano gave a revamped proposal to Fugate.

Under it, they asked for $117 million more for the plant rehab: $50 million for 31 pump stations, $35 million for electrical and lighting systems, and $32 million for other upgrades.

Beyond that, they are requesting $37.3 million to clean the insides and yards of homes damaged by the Bay Park sewage overflow. And they'd like $35 million to convert the Long Beach plant into a pumping station.

That funding would be a first step for their $600 million proposal to run a pipeline from the Bay Park plant to the Atlantic Ocean, a long-sought project that Mangano said would help Nassau's environment and economy.

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