Nassau County Legislature Approves $408 Million Bond Resolution
Builds on the $830 Million State and Federal Investment to Rebuild a More Resilient and Efficient Bay Park Plant
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Nassau County today announced a significant milestone in New York's plan to improve the water quality of Long Island's Western Bays. The Nassau County Legislature has approved a $408 million bond resolution to help fund the Bay Park Conveyance Project, which builds on the $830 million state and federal investment to rebuild the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and advance the Conveyance Project. This comprehensive plan will stop the discharge of an estimated 19 billion gallons of treated wastewater into the Western Bays each year, helping protect and rejuvenate marshlands that, in turn, help protect coastal communities from storm damage.
"The Bay Park Conveyance Project will help prevent the major source of nitrogen pollution from degrading marsh islands and damaging the delicate ecosystem that helps protect Long Island's coast from devastating waves and storm surges," Governor Cuomo said. "New York's innovative efforts to improve our infrastructure will be instrumental in protecting water quality and will support stronger, more resilient communities that are prepared to withstand extreme weather."
"We are committed to improving water quality on Long Island, and the Bay Park Conveyance Project will advance our efforts and protect communities from storm damage," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "This significant state and federal investment will eliminate discharge of wastewater in the Western Bays and help protect water quality in the area. The project is part of our overall goal to improve infrastructure and build resiliency on Long Island and across New York State."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "I am pleased that we are steadily moving along with the crucial Bay Park project, which upon completion will result in cleaner water, a healthier environment, and more resilient coastal communities on Nassau's south shore. I thank our New York State partners, especially Governor Cuomo and DEC, for making this project a priority."
In addition to the Bond Resolution, the County Legislature also approved a contract with a program management firm to assist the State and Nassau County in expediting the Conveyance Project. The program manager will work with the State to oversee the design and construction of the Conveyance Project to divert treated wastewater from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The Project will connect the plant via two underground tunnels and an abandoned aqueduct to the existing Cedar Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant's outfall that extends three miles out into the ocean to a one-mile long diffusion pipe. The contract will now undergo further reviews by the State and the County prior to execution.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project is among Governor Cuomo's top priorities, because this sewage treatment plant plays a critical role in the health of Long Island's environment and the viability of its economy. With County bond funding approved, and a qualified and committed team coming together to expedite this critical project, we are another step closer to restoring the health and resiliency of Nassau County's Western Bays. DEC looks forward to working with our Nassau County partners to see this project to completion."
Environmental Facilities CorporationGeneral Counsel Maureen Coleman said, "Governor Cuomo has made historic clean water investments like the Bay Park Conveyance Project a hallmark of his environmental policy. This is another step along the way to further restoration of Nassau's Western Bays. EFC is a proud partner with the DEC and Nassau County in this critical project."
Built in 1949, the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant serves more than 500,000 Nassau County residents and discharges an average of 52 million gallons of treated wastewater into Reynolds Channel each day. This discharge impacts nearly 10,000 acres of water and tidal marshland in the Western Bays, from Atlantic Beach to Point Lookout, including Hewlett and Baldwin harbors. Due in large part to nitrogen in treated wastewater from this plant, the Western Bays are impaired by macro algae blooms and other water quality impacts, such as low dissolved oxygen. In addition, peer-reviewed scientific studies have linked excess nitrogen to the damage and ultimate disintegration of coastal marsh islands that serve as a resilient barrier to storm surge and associated waves.
When completed, the project will allow for the ecological recovery of the Western Bays at a substantially lower cost and shorter construction schedule than previously proposed, which would have cost more than $600 million and taken nearly a decade to construct. Nassau County uncovered an unused 100-year old aqueduct in usable condition that can be used to connect the Bay Park plant to the existing Cedar Creek ocean outfall, saving at least $200 million.
The Bay Park Conveyance Project will divert fully treated effluent by constructing a two-mile, 72-inch force main north from the sewage treatment plant to the county-owned aqueduct that runs under Sunrise Highway; rehabilitating an eight-mile stretch of the aqueduct by removing the 14 gate valves and lining the 72-inch abandoned main; and constructing a two-mile, 72-inch force main from the aqueduct to the existing Cedar Creek outfall pipe, which is 6.5 miles long and will carry treated wastewater three miles into the Atlantic Ocean. The new force main segments will be constructed using micro-tunneling 20 to 50 feet below the ground surface.
The project builds on $830 million in state and federal funds already invested in the multi-year resilient rebuild of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant after extensive damage by Superstorm Sandy. The ongoing project includes the repair and upgrade of numerous treatment systems, collection systems, pump stations and the installation of engineered structures to protect the plant from a 500-year level storm, a storm that exceeds the intensity of Superstorm Sandy. Nassau County is installing two nitrogen treatment systems at the Bay Park facility to reduce nitrogen concentrations in treated wastewater by up to 50 percent.
This initiative is just one of several underway to improve water quality, create more resilient infrastructure, protect important marine resources and boost local economies. The Governor is investing $3 billion in clean water infrastructure; preparing New York for extreme weather events with $4.5 billion in federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding; implementing a $10.4 million effort to improve Long Island's water quality, economy and resiliency by restoring native shellfish populations to coastal waters; aggressively tackling nitrogen pollution by working with partners on the Long Island Nitrogen Action Plan and the Suffolk County Sewer Expansion; advancing the largest expansion of the State's Artificial Reef Program to develop a stronger, more diverse marine ecosystem; and implementing the historic Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, among other nation-leading climate initiatives, to help New York prepare and take action to adapt to a changing climate.
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Senate Environmental Conservation Committee said, "For decades the Western Bays have been poisoned by treated effluent from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and together, we have worked tirelessly to institute this creative solution," said. "Today's milestone brings us one step closer to revitalizing the Western Bays for future generations."
Senator John E. Brooks said, "Managing and protecting Long Island's Western Bays is a critical responsibility that must continue to be a top priority and today's announcement is a welcomed step forward. This program will reclaim our marshlands and result in the necessary reduction of nitrogen that has been plaguing the Western Bays. Under Governor Cuomo's leadership great strides are being taken in improving water quality, building smarter and stronger infrastructure, ensuring greater storm protection, and protecting our precious natural resources."
Assembly Member Melissa Miller said, "I am thrilled that the Nassau County Legislature has approved the resolution to help fund the Bay Park Conveyance Project. I am happy that everyone is working together towards the crucial goal of improving our water quality. Ensuring clean drinking water and making sure that our pristine marshlands and shore lines are being properly funded is vital to Long Island's resiliency and ecological longevity."
Assembly Member Judy Griffin said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project is crucial to the future of water quality of Long Island's Western Bays. Today's announcement is the culmination of a comprehensive effort to overhaul the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and upgrade related infrastructure to reduce the harmful impacts of nitrogen pollution on our ecosystems. This is a perfect example of all levels of government working together to find smart solutions to strengthen Long Island communities. Thanks to Governor Cuomo for his leadership and all who worked together to make this critical project a reality."
Town of Hempstead Supervisor Laura Gillen said, "Flooding is a significant risk for homeowners and small businesses in the Town of Hempstead. We need to constantly build safer, stronger and smarter, which includes re-establishing critically important marshland to absorb water and protect our coastal communities from tidal surges and major storm events. I'd like to thank Governor Cuomo for this vital investment in Long Island's future."