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Letters: Sewage issue needs repair

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was damaged

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was damaged by superstorm Sandy. Millions of gallons of partially treated sewage from the plant are flushing each day into Reynolds Channel north of Long Beach. (Nov. 2, 2012) Credit: Doug Kuntz

The Bay Park plant in Nassau County was never a model of modern sewage treatment ["Mangano vows to help homeowners," News, Nov. 15]. It was built 60 years ago and, unfortunately, discharges into the western bays, unlike the Bergen Point and Cedar Creek plants, which send outflow into the ocean.

Storm damage to the Bay Park plant is causing about 65 million gallons of partially treated sewage to be released every day. The sewage does not circulate out to the ocean, but stays in the bays for at least several weeks, sloshing back and forth to the mainland and the barrier islands. The extreme damage to the ecosystem is not yet known. In addition, raw sewage was released into homes, down streets and across front yards. Exposure to untreated and partially treated sewage is a public health threat.

My organization, in partnership with Operation Splash and Sludge Stoppers, two groups that advocate for clean beaches, has worked diligently to prompt Nassau County to upgrade and modernize this facility. We need to transition the Bay Park plant to withstand storms and treat sewage at the highest level. We need to stop patching pipes, and fix them.

Nassau cannot do this alone. Now is the time for the county to aggressively pursue Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to modernize the plant, raise the base elevation above sea level and extend the outfall pipe to the ocean. Federal, state and county leaders should be working together to mitigate this public health crisis.

Rebuilding without transitioning isn't recovery. We need to transition this plant to be cleaner, safer and more resilient.

Adrienne Esposito, Farmingdale

Editor's note: The writer is the executive director of the Citizens Campaign for the Environment, an advocacy organization.

I am wondering why Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is so upset with the Long Island Power Authority in the face of the worst storm in memory, when there is a county-run sewage treatment plant dumping partially treated sewage into Long Island waters. I want the governor to investigate that!

Mike Riveiro, Malverne