Environmental scientists have been studying for years how The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, originally constructed in 1949, and expanded in the '70's and '80s as Nassau County's population exploded, has been affecting water quality in the Western Bays. It was found that 85% of the nitrogenous waste in those waters was coming from the effluent from the Bay Park plant. This was destroying marsh, shellfish and fish habitats.
Incredibly, the final budget proposal includes a provision that will "sweep" some $33 million from a portion of the voter-approved Suffolk County Water Protection Program, known as the sewer Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF). This fund is exclusively obligated under County law to provide support for sewer improvements, sewage treatment plant upgrades and the installation of residential and commercial enhanced nitrogen removal systems - the exact kind of sewage systems that many areas need to improve water quality.
Scientists have determined that increasing pollution from sewage, pesticides, and toxic chemicals threatens Long Island’s water. Aging sewer and septic systems leak nitrogen into our underground supply of fresh drinking water, which flows into our creeks, bays, and harbors. This leads to “red tides” and other environmental problems that choke sea life, kill fish, and poison shellfish that people eat.
Fortunately, we can fix it. Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Group for the East End, Long Island Pine Barrens Society, and The Nature Conservancy have been working together for over a year to form the Long Island Clean Water Partnership—a grassroots initiative to restore and protect Long Island’s water resources on a comprehensive level. But action by local, county, and state officials is needed right now if Long Island’s water quality is to be protected and restored for our children and grandchildren. We all have good reason to make sure our water supply is clean and healthy, and we each have a part to play in protecting it for the future.
Michael Busch of Bellport takes News12 out to The Old Inlet/Breach to show them how much healthier that part of the bay has become since Sandy created it six months ago -- fluke, sea turtles, seal, osprey, clear waters.
Our friends at Peconic Baykeeper are asking the government to start by tackling the biggest and dirtiest septic systems on Long Island. As it stands, Peconic Baykeeper has filed suit against the NYSDEC for failing to include nitrogen limits in permits as required by the Clean Water Act. When presented with Peconic Baykeeper's 200-page petition in September, the NYSDEC came back six months later with a half-page note asking for more information on the 1,338 sites. Given the scale of the problem, we need a much greater sense of urgency if we are to save Long Island.
DAMAGING BROWN TIDE SPREADS ACROSS GREAT SOUTH BAY
June rains kick starts event; Presence of The New Inlet keeps levels lower in Eastern Bay
Stony Brook, NY, July 8th 2013 – An intense and damaging brown tide has emerged across much of Great South Bay. Monitoring by The Gobler Laboratory of Stony Brook University has revealed that a brown tide developed in late June in western Great South Bay and has intensified and spread east since. Abundances of the brown tide organism were recorded at more than 1,000,000 cells per milliliter in western Great South Bay as of July 2nd in the region between the Robert Moses Bridge and Islip. Densities declined to less than 100,000 cells per milliliter within eastern Great South Bay. Densities above 100,000 cells per milliliter can be harmful to marine life. This marks the first summer brown tide in Great South Bay since 2008.
A charter fishing boat out by the OUTFALL pipe of The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, and during a week when the surrounding beaches are closed because of contaminated runoff.
Here is the untold story around Sandy, and a story that is ongoing, because Sandy severely damaged some already antiquated facilities. To save our bays, our methods of sewage treatment must change dramatically.