Long Beach City Council approved a $125 million bond to...

Long Beach City Council approved a $125 million bond to convert the Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant, above, into a pump station and connect to the Nassau County plant in Bay Park. Credit: Newsday/J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Long Beach City Council members approved a $123 million bond on Tuesday for a fully federally and state-funded project to reroute the city’s sewage out of Reynolds Channel.

The bonds, to be reimbursed through federal and state funds, will be used to convert the city’s current wastewater treatment plant into a pump station and build a 3.5-mile pipeline under Reynolds Channel that connects to the Nassau County treatment plant at Bay Park in East Rockaway.

“This is one of the most regional significant effects we’ll see in our lifetime. It’s going to eliminate seven million gallons of wastewater pumped into the bay. It will eliminate nitrogen and be a benefit for the ecosystem and the community,” Long Beach Public Works Commissioner Joe Febrizio said. “In three years, the city will be out of the sewer business.”

Long Beach’s conversion is part of a three-part $500 million project that will transfer Nassau County’s sewage from Bay Park, 11 miles under Sunrise Highway, to the Cedar Creek treatment plant in Wantagh before being pumped through a 3-mile outfall pipe into the Atlantic Ocean.

In addition to the Bay Park Conveyance Project, plans also would look to install sewers in Point Lookout, where most waste is being transferred through leeching basins, Febrizio said.

Officials said the project, which has been 14 years in the making, would reduce ammonia and nitrogen levels in the bay. By transferring the sewage, the project would remove 5 million gallons of treated sewage the city pumps daily into the bay and 65 million gallons treated and pumped into Reynolds Channel at Bay Park.

The city was looking to improve water quality levels before Superstorm Sandy flooded the back bays and caused $5 million in damage to the treatment plant.

The 19,000-foot pipeline will connect the new Long Beach pump station to Bay Park and decommission the rest of the city’s sewer treatment facilities. It also would open 4 acres of city-owned bayfront property on Reynolds Channel near the Long Beach Recreation Center by Long Island Rail Road tracks, facing Harbor Isle and Island Park.

The city is under a consent decree to finish the project with the Department of Environmental Conservation and has permits to solicit bids for construction.

The city was initially responsible for $18 million of the project and secured $12 million in grants after signing an intermunicipal agreement with Nassau County.

The county voted for $66 million in bonds, but never borrowed the funding and transferred the costs to the city. The Federal Emergency Management Agency instead awarded $67 million last month to Long Beach to complete the project. 

The city also received $28 million from the Governor's Office of Storm Recovery. Long Beach expects to be fully reimbursed for the project, Febrizio said. 

"This project must be built. It’s required by federal and state law," Febrizio said. "All of the project costs will be covered by FEMA and the state."

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