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Advocates argue against Great Neck plant permit

Great Neck Village welcome sign on Aug. 16,

Great Neck Village welcome sign on Aug. 16, 2012. Credit: Brittany Wait

An environmental-advocacy group is challenging the nitrogen output of a wastewater treatment district in Great Neck.

Save Our Sound, based in New Haven, Conn., said it is challenging an amended consent order issued in May by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation that allows the Great Neck Pollution Control District to emit several hundred pounds of nitrogen per day into the Long Island Sound.

The group alleges that the order violates the Clean Water Act and was done without public notice, and is asking that a judge vacate the order and not allow further alterations to the district’s allowable nitrogen output.

But Christopher Murphy, superintendent of the district, said the consent order was a temporary allowance during a $60 million upgrade and expansion of the wastewater facility, and that the facility will emit a fraction of the nitrogen it emits now once construction is complete next year.

“When we’re finished, we’re going to be removing more nitrogen than we’re required to,” Murphy said.

Like other wastewater plants that discharge into the Sound, the facility is under a deadline to decrease its nitrogen output by 2014, or else face steep fines from the DEC.

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