Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has pledged $12 million to study and construct new sewers in Glen Cove and its surrounding areas to help rehabilitate Hempstead Harbor.
"It's an important public health initiative that will help restore our waterways and allow us to reopen Crescent Beach," Mangano said.
Glen Cove Mayor Reginald Spinello said some homes along the harbor are not sewered. He said some of their septic systems are leaking, causing high bacteria counts in a stream near Crescent Beach in Glen Cove. The beach has been closed since 2009 because of bacteria contamination.
"I think water is probably the most important natural resource," Spinello said.
Municipalities across Long Island are facing similar water-quality issues and have put forth different projects, including new sewers and upgrades to sewage treatment plants, to help curtail the amount of bacteria and nitrogen going into area waters.
Organizations such as the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor have worked for years to raise awareness and remove threats to the area's waters.
"We completely support Nassau County's commitment to fund a feasibility study and the design and construction costs for the unsewered areas along the eastern shore of Hempstead Harbor," said Carol DiPaolo, the coalition's programs director, in a statement.
"Failing septic systems have prevented the reopening of Crescent Beach, and this needs to be addressed along with a broader assessment and plan to mitigate the bacteria and nitrogen loading to Hempstead Harbor," DiPaolo said.
In Nassau, an agreement was made between the county executive, the presiding officer and minority leader for the $12 million project. The capital plan still needs legislative approval, which is expected to happen next month, and would include the project, county officials said.
If the capital plan is approved, officials will issue a request for proposals for the study, which officials say would happen next month.
The sewers are slated to be installed in Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glen Head and Glenwood Landing. The new sewers would feed into Glen Cove's Sewage Treatment Plant.
Spinello said the city's plant is currently underutilized, so the additional hookups will have no impact on the system.
The study will help officials decide where specifically the sewers should go. The study is slated to be completed next year and the county's Department of Public Works will be overseeing the project.
Spinello said he doesn't anticipate construction to begin until 2016.