Nassau County will spend nearly $100,000 to study new ways to treat wastewater at the Bay Park Sewage Plant and the feasibility of building an outfall pipe that would extend into the Atlantic Ocean, county officials announced this week.
The study, which began in July and will last one year, is part of a settlement agreement between Nassau and the state Department of Conservation to resolve allegations that plant operators had illegally discharged sludge into Reynolds Channel, dating back to 2007.
“For decades the community has sought alternatives for discharging treated sewage from the Bay Park Plant,” Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano said.
In October 2010, the DEC found that Nassau had dumped partially treated solids into the channel, failed to maintain plant equipment and had not reported the illegal discharges.
Under the agreement, Nassau was fined $500,000, instructed to fix equipment and management failures, and ordered to conduct an environmental study. A grant from the Environmental Protection Agency will pay 55 percent of the study’s cost while Nassau will pay the rest from its capital budget.
The study, which will be conducted by CH2M Hill of Englewood, Colo., will evaluate the financial and environmental benefits of upgrading the plant’s treatment process compared with constructing a pipe from the plant into the ocean. The consultant’s proposed cost is $198,500, officials said.
Legis. David Denenberg (D-Merrick) said the county conducted a similar study in 2006 and found that a pipe would cost at least $200 million.
“Rather than conducting another study, they should spend the $400 million that has been authorized for capital improvements at the county’s sewer plants,” he said.
Above: A Nassau County Police boat on patrol in Reynolds Channel. (Oct. 21, 2010)