Officials mull temporary fix for Crescent Beach contamination


The City of Glen Cove’s and Nassau County’s departments of public works are working together to determine whether filters could temporarily solve the contamination problem at Crescent Beach, which has been closed for nine years as the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation works to identify and remedy the source or sources of the pollution.

The county agreed on Monday to spend $200,000 to explore the possibility of installing filters. Mayor Tim Tenke said that the first step along that process would be to determine the optimal placement for a filter. “These filters can only treat so much water per hour,” he said, adding “We’re at the stage right now where we’re trying to determine flow rates.”

If the contaminated water is mixing with clean water before the stream flows out to the beach, it makes more sense to place the filter nearer to the source of the contamination, Tenke said, to avoid redundantly filtering already-clean water. If none of the water is clean enough, the filter could be placed at the mouth of the stream, and filter all of the water that leaves the marshy area and flows into the Sound.

Two types of filters are being considered: a “helix” filter, which uses a spinning motion to remove contaminants from water, and an ultraviolet filter that uses electromagnetic waves to kill bacteria.

The plan comes as Tenke and County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton expressed frustration about the pace of the state’s work to identify where the contamination is coming from. DeRiggi-Whitton said that the study was supposed to be completed by the end of June. “Here we are at the end of July,” she said, and the DEC has yet to publish its findings.

So far, the DEC has tried running cameras up the outflow pipes it believed could be contributing to the problem and “dye testing” — in which dyed markers are deposited into nearby homeowners’ plumbing systems to determine if there are any leaks.

“DEC will finish dye testing this month,” the state agency said in a statement. “To date, the investigation has not found a direct connection to any septic systems to the creek,” nor did the camera investigation. In addition, DNA tests on the contamination are being conducted “to inform the investigation’s next steps and determine if the contamination is of animal or human origin.”

DeRiggi-Whitton said she didn’t know exactly what the state’s delay was, but alluded to “a problem with the lab” that was doing the DNA testing. When asked to clarify that claim, representatives of the DEC declined to respond.