The Nassau County Legislature voted unanimously on Aug. 3 to approve additional funding for a new marine bulkhead along the Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plant, near Hempstead Harbor. The bulkhead will run along the south side of Glen Cove Creek, which empties into the harbor.
The project, which was brought to the Legislature’s attention by Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton, a Democrat from Glen Cove, will cost $172,480.
County funding was approved to replace the existing bulkhead a few years ago, but, DeRiggi-Whitton said, the project fell through because it was not deemed a priority at the time. The consulting and design firm H2M Architects + Engineers tested the soil and groundwater in the area, and found low levels of contamination. But there is more wear and tear on structures that are in constant contact with water, DeRiggi-Whitton noted, and given the fact that the bulkhead protects Hempstead Harbor from sewage runoff, further deterioration could result in contamination of the harbor.
“It was getting to the point that if we didn’t address it now, we would’ve had a larger issue in the future,” she said, later adding, “It’s one of those things that no one really pays attention to unless it really goes wrong.”
Ken Arnold, commissioner of the county Department of Public Works, will send out a request for proposals in the next few weeks to find a company to do the work.
A sewer system is being installed in nearby Sea Cliff to replace part of the village’s aging cesspools. The system will direct sewage to the treatment plant, and DeRiggi-Whitton said that with that extra volume, it will be important to have structurally sound bulkheading.
Sea Cliff Village Administrator Bruce Kennedy said he was familiar with the south side of Glen Cove Creek because he often drives his boat through the area. A new bulkhead is sorely needed, he said.
“All the bulkheading on the south side is in deteriorated shape, and that includes the sewage treatment plant,” Kennedy said. “It’s important that it’s restored, repaired and replaced to ensure the integrity of the sewage plant itself. We worked for many, many years to increase the health of the harbor, and efforts in that vein should continue.”
Glen Cove Mayor Tim Tenke said he was grateful for DeRiggi-Whitton’s attention to the issue. “If it wasn’t for her keeping these projects and repairs in the forefront,” Tenke said, “I don’t think they would get the attention that they [need].”
Because Glen Cove is a waterfront community, the mayor said, it has a responsibility to keep nearby waters clean. The health of Long Island Sound depends on places like Glen Cove and Sea Cliff, he added, so officials and residents must do everything they can to limit contamination.
Tenke said that RXR Realty had already replaced the bulkhead that runs along the north side of the creek as part of its Garvies Point development project. That put an end to years of contamination when the property was an industrial area, he said, and another new bulkhead on the other side of the creek should do the same for the sewage plant.
The creek is being dredged to remove existing contaminants, and Tenke said he hoped that future dredging would yield less contamination.
Carol DiPaolo, executive director of the Coalition to Save Hempstead Harbor, said the existing bulkhead is in bad condition and needs replacing. But the plant itself needs to be examined as well, she said, because such things as old pipes may likely need replacing as well.
“There are other pipes in that location that are probably remnants of much older infrastructure that should be assessed,” DiPaolo said. “I would hope that the sources of those old pipes could be found, and it could be determined if these remain or if new pipes are put in — whatever the case warrants.”