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Nassau: Air, water samples around Bay Park declared safe

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was damaged

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was damaged by superstorm Sandy. Millions of gallons of partially treated sewage from the plant are flushing each day into Reynolds Channel north of Long Beach. (Nov. 2, 2012) Credit: Doug Kuntz

Evaluation of air and water samples taken in communities near the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant "did not reveal any public health concerns," the Nassau County Health Department said Thursday.

"Air monitoring results were well below" state and federal guidelines, and marine water samples, taken at nine locations surrounding the plant, "were also well below" the guidelines for bathing beach water quality, the health department said. The samples were taken May 15.

The health department "will continue to conduct routine bathing beach water quality monitoring at permitted beaches," on Nassau's South Shore, the health department said. The Bay Park plant is surrounded by the communities of Hewlett Harbor, East Rockaway and Oceanside.

Routine testing at the beaches began in mid-April, and since that time all samples were within state and federal guidelines, officials said.

The plant, which serves 40 percent of the county's population, or about 500,000 residents, was knocked offline for two days after 9 feet of saltwater entered the facility during Sandy.

For more than a month, the plant released some 65 million gallons a day of partially treated sludge into Reynolds Channel, which flows into the Atlantic Ocean. It took 44 days to fully restore plant operations.

The Oct. 29 storm also destroyed Bay Park's dewatering facility, used to dry a portion of the waste before trucking it away. Nassau set up a temporary outdoor drying station that produces odors that residents say they can smell blocks away.

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