DEC Grants Notice to Proceed with Final Design and Construction to Western Bays Constructors Joint Venture
Project Includes New Pump Station, Two New Force Main Pipes, Rehabilitation and Sliplining of Sunrise Highway Aqueduct, and Connection to Existing Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant's Ocean Outfall
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formal Notice to Proceed for the Bay Park Conveyance Project in Nassau County, marking a significant milestone in the project's progress. New York State granted the Notice to Proceed with final design and construction to Western Bays Constructors Joint Venture, the design-build contractor for the project, which will convey treated water from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant to the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant's ocean outfall.
The project is a partnership between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Nassau County Department of Public Works. When completed in three years, the project will divert as much as 75 million gallons of treated water per day and up to 90 percent of the nitrogen loading from Reynolds Channel and the Western Bays each year, improving regional resiliency and quality of life. Project construction will begin this spring.
"This ambitious project will be critical in advancing our sustained efforts to reduce water pollution and restore water quality in our coastal communities," Governor Cuomo said. "For decades, Long Island's coastal habitats have suffered from nitrogen pollution. We have been working diligently with our local partners to address this environmental threat, and by advancing the Bay Park Conveyance Project, we are taking further action to protect the Western Bays and the surrounding communities by increasing their resilience to future flooding."
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, "The revitalization of the Western Bays will significantly improve our environment and provide greater storm resiliency. By investing in Nassau's environment, we are not only creating jobs and spurring economic development but protecting homeowners by restoring the critical marshlands that serve as vital buffers during storms. I thank Governor Cuomo for making this project a priority by employing a seamless design-build strategy that slashes the amount of time required to build out the infrastructure needed to improve water quality and rejuvenate our environment for generations to come."
Design-Build is a cost-saving procurement approach that incentivizes the private sector to accelerate the completion of large-scale infrastructure projects. By utilizing this approach, the Bay Park Conveyance Project will support the ecological recovery of the Western Bays at a substantially lower cost and shorter construction schedule than other options, which would have cost more than $600 million and taken nearly a decade to construct. In addition, with treated water no longer discharged into the Western Bays of Nassau County, nearby communities will experience cleaner water, improved quality of life, and restored vital marshlands that protect communities from wave action and coastal surge during severe storms.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is managing the design-build contractor, Western Bays Constructors Joint Venture, and upon completion, the Nassau County Department of Public Works will own and operate the new facilities.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "Governor Cuomo is committed to protecting our coastal communities from future floods and severe storms while also improving water quality and safeguarding our natural resources. Today's announcement marks a critical milestone in advancing the Bay Park Conveyance Project, which will address the greatest ecological threat to the Western Bays—nitrogen. By working with our partners in Nassau County, New York is one step closer to delivering the Bay Park Conveyance Project as quickly and cost-effectively as possible."
The contract was approved by the Nassau County Legislature in November 2020, and then approved by the County Finance Control Board, County Comptroller, and County Executive Laura Curran. DEC then signed the contract and submitted it to the New York State Attorney General and Comptroller for final approval.
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 water 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 water from this plant, the Western Bays are impaired by macro algal blooms and other water quality issues, such as low dissolved oxygen. 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.
The project will convey fully treated water by: constructing a two-mile, 72-inch force main north from the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant to the County-owned aqueduct that runs under Sunrise Highway; rehabilitating and lining a 7.3-mile stretch of the abandoned aqueduct; and constructing a 1.6-mile, 72-inch force main from the aqueduct to the existing Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant's ocean outfall pipe, which is seven miles long and will carry treated water three miles out into the Atlantic Ocean. The new force main segments will be constructed using microtunneling 20 to 60 feet below the ground surface.
This Bay Park Conveyance Project builds on $830 million in State and federal funds previously invested in the multi-year resilient rebuild of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. These projects, combined along with other State and County investments in resiliency, support the restoration of the Western Bays, protect important marine resources, and boost local economies with the added benefit of better protection to coastal communities against future damage from storms.
Senator Todd Kaminsky, Chair of the Environmental Conservation Committee, said, "For decades, the Western Bays have been polluted with treated effluent and nitrogen, harming our environment and quality-of-life. This project will protect our communities from flooding, purify our water, and bolster our local ecological vitality — and I was proud to work with my partners in government to get it done."
Senator John E. Brooks said, "This project is critical in safely and effectively improving the wastewater treatment systems in place on Long Island and protecting the Western Bays. I fully support this endeavor to build up the coastal resiliency of our shores and eliminate harmful pollution to our waters. I commend Governor Cuomo and the DEC for ensuring this project continues to move forward without delays."
Assembly Member Melissa Miller said, "I am very pleased that the DEC has granted permission to proceed with the Bay Park Conveyance Project. This project, when completed, will improve both the region's storm resiliency and maximize the quality of life in Nassau County. I am looking forward to construction beginning in the spring."
Assembly Member Taylor Darling said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project is a positive step in protecting Long Island's water quality. Restoring the marshlands and cleaning the waters of the South Shore will have a lasting impact on the future of Long Island."
Assembly Member Judy Griffin said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project is vital to vastly improve the water quality of Long Island's Western Bays, protect our coastlines against storm surges while decreasing pollution and preserving our water quality for future generations. Today's announcement is an immense step forward in the final design and construction of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant to reduce the detrimental impacts of nitrogen pollution on our ecosystems in order to strengthen Long Island coastal communities. Thank you to Governor Cuomo for his leadership."
Nassau County Legislator Kevan Abrahams, District 1, said, "The Bay Park Conveyance Project will modernize crucial sewer infrastructure in a manner that protects the environment, safeguards our precious Western Bays, and fosters economic development for future generations. We remain deeply grateful to all who played a role in bringing this regionally significant initiative to fruition."
Nassau County Legislator Denise Ford, District 4, said, "I look forward to seeing this process move forward to continue to restore and preserve our waterways especially Reynolds Channel and the Western Bays. This collaboration with our federal, state and local partners will ensure that our residents and wildlife can continue to enjoy one of our region's greatest natural resources."
Nassau County Legislator Debra Mulé, District 5, said, "This is a moment that so many residents of Nassau County's south shore waterfront communities have eagerly awaited. Through its innovative approach, the Bay Park Conveyance Project will fortify the integrity of our sewer infrastructure in a manner that enhances the ecological health of the Western Bays and Reynolds Channel for years to come. I thank everyone who has played a role in bringing this monumental undertaking to fruition."
Western Bays Resiliency Initiative
The Bay Park Conveyance Project is part of the larger Western Bays Resiliency Initiative. Nassau County is leading a series of region-wide resiliency and sustainability projects that will improve the water quality of the degraded Western Bays. Nassau County is pursuing the following Projects under the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative — the Bay Park Conveyance Project, the Long Beach Consolidation Project, and the Point Lookout Sewer Feasibility Study.