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Nassau: Wastewater spills into channel

An estimated 3 million gallons of "partially treated wastewater" from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant discharged into Reynolds Channel during a brief power outage late Thursday, Nassau County reported on its website.

The spill occurred about 11 p.m. and lasted about an hour, according to a spill report posted Friday on the website. The state Department of Environmental Conservation was informed shortly after midnight, the report said.

"That's a significant spill," said Adrienne Esposito, executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, adding that the spill comes at the start of flounder season. "We heard there were boats fishing right there and they didn't know it spilled."

Nassau officials could not be reached for comment last night.

The plant on Nassau's South Shore dumped about 100 million gallons of untreated sewage into Hewlett Bay when it was knocked out of service for 44 hours during superstorm Sandy. In the 44 days it took to restore operations fully at the plant, another 2.2 billion gallons of partially treated sewage flowed through the plant.

The federal government on May 2 said it would make $340 million available to help New York pay for upgrades at water treatment plants.

About 30 percent of the money will be given as grants and 70 percent as loans, which local governments must repay.

The Bay Park plant will apply through New York State's Revolving Funds Program for funding, a spokesman for Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said last week.

"We are presently working with a federal-state-county team that will clearly compete for those dollars to help mitigate our sewage treatment plants, implement clean water projects and help clean debris from our waterways," Mangano said in a May 2 statement.

Esposito said the process is taking too long to bring what she called a 19th century sewage treatment system into the 21st century.

"Enough is enough," she said. "Nassau County needs to get its act together. They need to get it fixed. Get the FEMA money and get it fixed."

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