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Editorial: A big step to clean up Hempstead Harbor

Glen Cove City Hall.

Glen Cove City Hall. Credit: T.C. McCarthy

Crescent Beach in Glen Cove has been closed more than five years because of bacteria contamination. Hempstead Harbor, on which the beach is located, suffers from bacteria and nitrogen loading. Among the culprits: failing septic systems on Nassau's North Shore.

So we welcome a proposal from County Executive Edward Mangano for new sewers in Glen Cove, Sea Cliff, Glen Head and Glenwood Landing.

The $12-million plan -- hatched with legislative leaders and Glen Cove officials -- is part of the county's capital plan and requires approval from the full legislature, which needs to vote yes.

Poor-functioning septic systems cause serious environmental harm by leaching out nitrogen and other contaminants. The new sewers would connect 5,800 houses and apartments to the sewage treatment plant in Glen Cove, which has loads of excess capacity.

Officials expect construction to begin in 2016. In the meantime, the City of Glen Cove is considering legislation to more quickly identify failing septic systems and help homeowners address problems. But everyone involved understands that sewers are what's needed in the long term to help clean up another of our troubled waterways.