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Nassau lawmakers expected to OK $100M worth of upgrades to Bay Park sewage plant

Digestor tanks at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment

Digestor tanks at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway. At right is a 60-foot high gas sphere, seen here on March 9, 2011. Credit: Kevin P. Coughlin

Nassau lawmakers on Monday are expected to approve a nearly $100 million contract to harden the electrical system at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment plant, which was flooded with more than 9 feet of water during superstorm Sandy.

The $97.4 million contract, funded with state and federal dollars, was awarded to three Long Island electrical and civil engineering firms. It is the largest post-Sandy contract awarded to date by the county, officials said.

The firms, Bana Electric Corp. of Farmingdale, Peter Scalamandre & Sons Inc. of Freeport and R.J. Industries Inc. of Plainview were the lowest of four bidders, according to county contracting documents.

County engineers had estimated the project would cost $120 million, documents show.

The project will be funded with $20 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency with the rest coming from the state's Community Development Block Grant program, said Mary Studdert, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Public Works.

The legislature's GOP-controlled Rules Committee is expected to approve the contract.

"Anyone who has toured the Bay Park plant and seen the existing electrical system understands the urgent need for immediate improvement," said Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow). "And the availability of state and federal funding will make our vision of a hurricane-fortified plant a reality."

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said his caucus was still examining the 352-page contract but that Democrats would press county officials about the process for selecting the winning firms. The three companies did not report the use of any lobbyists on the contract, documents show.

The contract -- the third phase of work on the plant's electrical systems -- calls for the construction of a new hurricane-hardened elevated main substation with equipment that would nearly double the facility's power-distribution system.

The project, which would begin this summer and be complete by mid-2018, would include installation of diesel-powered generators and about five miles of new electrical duct banks for underground power lines.

Studdert said the project will "repair and replace all major systems" to protect the plant "from future storm events."

The three firms, collectively referred to as BSRJ, were previously hired by Nassau for $28.6 million to replace Bay Park electrical equipment damaged in the 2012 storm. That work is expected to be complete in September 2016, Studdert said.

The East Rockaway plant serves 532,000 people on Nassau's South Shore and was submerged with 9 1/2 feet of water during the storm and knocked out of service for 57 days.

Nassau is spending $830 million in federal and state dollars to repair the plant and fortify the facility with an 18-foot concrete wall and earthen berm.

The county also obtained a $100,000 state grant to explore construction of a microgrid at the plant to provide power to East Rockaway's Village Hall, library and post office, two Long Island Rail Road stations, a pair of schools, a fire station and a public works building during weather events and other emergencies.

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