Post-hurricane worries for East Rockaway, Bay Park residents

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“It’s being handled by the county’s Department of Emergency Management,” Santino said. “It’s not ready to be fully implemented … but we’re talking weeks, not months.” He explained that with a hazard-mitigation program, community members have to agree on what they want to do, and would be responsible for 25 percent of the cost, with FEMA covering the rest.

The Bay Park plant

“Who is taking responsibility for what happened at the plant?” asked a woman who said she lives just a few blocks from the facility. The plant was hit with a 9-foot tidal surge at the height of the storm, which shut down its electrical system and forced tons of sewage into the bay — and onto homeowners’ properties.

“First, the plant is now up and running,” said Shila Shah-Gavnoudias, commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Public Works. “During the storm, we had some areas that were affected by the sewage backup. We know the areas, and a letter can be produced to your insurance company.”

A Lawson Avenue resident asked how he can be reimbursed if he has already cleaned up. “I couldn’t have that fecal matter floating around in my house,” he said.

“Even if they ripped things out,” said Brendan Broderick, president of J.C. Broderick & Associates, an environmental consulting firm hired by Shah-Gavnoudias, “there will still be trace elements.” Broderick explained that the first phase of his company’s plan is identification and stabilization — getting the most severely impacted materials out of a house so conditions don’t get worse. “Because so many homes were affected,” he said, “we have to do all the homes first, in stage one, before we can move on.” Broderick said that homeowners in the area who had flooding could let their insurance adjusters know that it was “Category 3” water — water whose source is unknown and which could contain pathogens or chemicals.

“If you suspect you’ve had contaminate water, call for an assessment,” Santino said. “The county will pay for it.”

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