Nassau County Presiding Officer Norma L. Gonsalves today called upon NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo and U.S. Senator Charles Schumer to discuss the likelihood of getting state or federal funds to build an ocean outfall pipe at the Sandy-damaged Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.
On May 21, 2014, Senator Schumer announced that he had secured $150 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to build a nitrogen-removal system at Bay Park. Yet, Governor Cuomo’s recently released state budget is missing the promised fund allocations. Also missing is any plan for funding to build a much-needed ocean outfall pipe, which would deliver the sewerage past Long Beach Island and directly out to the ocean.
Currently, the Bay Park Plant releases treated effluent into Reynolds Channel, and despite the fact that the plant abides by all environmental regulations, the marine life and marshlands of Reynolds Channel are suffering from the levels of nitrogen in the water.
“We are being told that the scope of the nitrogen-removal system is affected by whether an outfall pipe will be built,” said Presiding Officer Gonsalves. “But, neither project is being given its due funding or discussion.” Gonsalves is calling on the state and federal officials to talk about the potential for an outfall pipe now, “because if we can’t get the outfall pipe, we need the nitrogen-removal system immediately!”
It’s no secret that Nassau County gives more tax money to the federal and state governments than it gets back in aid. A study published by the Long Island Association released last week highlighted the fact that Nassau and Suffolk counties paid approximately $28 Billion more to the federal and state governments than they got back in 2013.
“We could have built 40 outfall pipes with the $28 Billion in unreturned funds to Long Island in just 2103! Given the vast disparity in funding that Long Island residents give versus what we receive, it is more than fair to request funding for the outfall pipe now,” said Gonsalves. “Nassau County is a good investment!”
The Nassau Legislature is calling on Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer to engage in meaningful discussions now to find funding for the outfall pipe, which is estimated to cost $546 to $700 million. The Presiding Officer is scheduling a legislative hearing on the issue before the state budget is finalized in April.