Study: South Shore bays are polluted

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At the end of December, environmentalists released a 10-point plan for the plant that included installing monitors at the outfall pipe in Reynolds Channel, creating a public oversight committee and modernizing it to treat nitrogen. Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the group that moderated last week’s forum, distributed a list of objectives to those who attended.

Organizations that supported the 10-point plan include members of the Western Bays Collaboration Working Group. One of those members is the Point Lookout Civic Association. Gerald Ottavino, co-chairman of the group’s environmental committee, said that Hurricane Sandy revealed how vulnerable the county’s sewage treatment infrastructure is. The nine-foot tidal surge that flooded Bay Park necessitated change at the plant, Ottavino said, adding that meeting the 10 objectives would mean rebuilding and modernizing the facility.

“Effectuating them will serve to reverse the degradation currently imperiling our Western Bays and restore them to clean and healthful status critical for saving Nassau County’s threatened South Shore,” he said.

Elected officials in the Western Bays Collaboration Working Group agreed that action must be taken, with one, County Legislator David Denenberg, a Democrat from Merrick, suggesting that the county follow through with projects that have already been funded. Denenberg said he suspected that water quality would be worst near the outfall pipes of sewage treatment plants like Bay Park, which processes about 40 percent of the county’s sewage. The information presented by scientists last week, he said, should result in tighter federal and state regulations for waste dischargers.
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