Kristen Ochtera’s home did not see any of the overflow, but many of her neighbors’ homes did. Ochtera said she is in favor of the creation of a public oversight committee for the plant, but she added that Nassau County has welcomed residents’ questions over the years and has taken their recommendations seriously.
“I think the community needs to know exactly what’s going on in there,” she said, “because, as we can tell, we’re the ones who suffer the consequences.”
Ochtera, a Bay Park resident for 12 years, added, “The upgrades to that plant are long overdue.”
Environmentalists expressed their support for a plan to privatize the plant that was introduced by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano but rejected by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which monitors the county’s budget, last May.
“Failure of the aging sewage system infrastructure during and since Hurricane Sandy is now contributing to the most serious of the storm-induced impacts to Long Island’s environment,” said Carl LoBue, senior marine scientist for the Nature Conservancy on Long Island. “The best way to mitigate impacts from the failure of the plant is to modernize it, upgrade treatment and appropriately relocate a new outfall.”
Environmental groups maintain that the waters along Long Island’s South Shore being degraded by ammonia, increased algae.
“This is an opportunity we must not pass up,” Weltner said. “Our chance to go from destruction to reconstruction and finally get our bays healthy again is here now.”