SCHUMER REVEALS: FIVE YEARS AFTER SANDY, BAY PARK SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT STILL RELIES ON GENERATORS; PLAN TO FIX POWER PROBLEM & TREAT MORE WATER, WHILE KEEPING NITROGEN DIVERSION PLAN ON SCHEDULE, REQUIRES FEMA APPROVAL; OTHERWISE, FACILITY COULD FAIL; SENATOR URGES FEMA TO APPROVE NASSAU PLAN
Nassau Has Been Working Day & Night To Come Up With A Permanent Plan To Deliver Power To Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant—And Now They Have One; New Partnership With PSEG-LI Will Deliver The Extra Power Needed To Clean More Water And Address Nitrogen, But It Requires FEMA To Give Blessing
Without Swift FEMA Approval Facility Could Reach Maximum Load, LI Water Treated By Bay Park Site Would Be Limited & Western Bays Resiliency Plan That Would Tackle Nitrogen Levels Could Derail
Schumer To FEMA: Let Nassau Take ‘Charge’ & Deliver Much-Needed Power To Bay Park Treatment Plant
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer revealed today that, nearly five years after Superstorm Sandy, the Bay Park Sewer Treatment plant still relies on generators for power and that the current power plan cannot continue for much longer without risk to the treatment facility itself, residents, or the local environment. Schumer, who secured over $800 million in fed funds for the Bay Park treatment plant to get back on line and to clean up a large-scale mess, said that Bay Park needs more electricity and needs it fast in order to finish the job that these federal funds helped accomplish in the first place, and that the final step—this power approval—is amongst the last pieces of a larger plan to protect Nassau and Long Island residents should another storm come ashore. Schumer called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to approve the plan Nassau County has submitted to provide the additional power to the sewage treatment plant before it is too late.
“What we need here is to bypass any bureaucratic logjam and let the power flow to Bay Park,” said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. “For five years now, Nassau has worked to retool, recalibrate and remake this treatment plant into a better facility, and now the final piece—a power plan—is one of the last things left standing between resiliency and risk. We cannot afford the risk, and so we are making an all-out push to get Nassau’s power plan to the top of the FEMA paperwork pile before it is too late. With today’s ever-changing climate, too late could come too soon and so we have to make the effort to protect Long Island before the next storm should form, aim or hit us. FEMA must see this push for what it is: an effort to protect an $800 million dollar federal investment that I worked very hard to deliver and also a major cost avoidance for their own coffers, should we, god forbid, see another major storm. The folks standing with me today have submitted the right kind of plan to go beyond the generators and now, all we are waiting on is an electric ‘yes’ from the feds, and my hope is that we get it soon, so Nassau can finish the job.”
Schumer said that, thanks to the aforementioned fed funds, the treatment plant is approaching maximum load, but is in need of additional electricity in order to treat more water and stay on schedule. Schumer explained that without additional electric feeders, sediment or sludge could build up. Or worse, the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant could become inoperable. Schumer cautioned FEMA: if the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant Plan were to stall, the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative could also be delayed, impacting both residents and the local environment. Schumer said that FEMA must work with Nassau County and allow them to tap more power, fast. Schumer said that the undeniable progress at the plant demands it ‘graduate,’ from its reliance on generators and become fully ‘redundant,’ meaning that if one source of power fails, another kicks in. This did not happen during Sandy, and under this plan, it would. Ensuring the plant remains operable, continually treating water and protecting the environment, Schumer says, is the larger goal that must be accomplished. Schumer also said that the long term goals of the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative would see the Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant converted to a pumping station so that the wastewater there could be transported to Bay Park for treatment. Schumer said that this would further protect Reynolds Channel and the Western Bays but without this desperately needed power upgrade, Nassau’s long term resiliency goals would fizzle. The Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant currently contributes 4.2 million gallons of treated sewage into Reynolds Channel daily.
“We at Operation SPLASH support this important infrastructure project 100%. It is necessary for all the residents in Nassau County to make sure our waste water treatment plans have the best possible systems in place to protect our bays and beaches and we thank Senator Schumer for his continued support and leading the way on this effort” said Rob Weltner, President of Operation SPLASH.
The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was and has been one of the largest and most difficult undertakings in the efforts to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. It is also one of the most critical, with tremendous impact on the public health of over 500,000 residents in Nassau County, making the necessary investments in reconstruction and mitigation measures a basic human necessity for this community.
During Sandy, the plant was knocked offline for two days after 9 feet of saltwater entered the facility. Thousands have had to endure the noxious after-effects of its destruction while the plant released some 65 million gallons a day of partially-treated sludge into Reynolds channel and back bays which often takes many weeks, if not months, until it is thoroughly flushed out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the 44 hours the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was out of service, it dumped 100 million gallons of untreated sewage into Hewlett Bay. In the 44 days it took to restore operations fully at the plant, another 2.2 billion gallons of partially-treated sewage flowed through the plant. Since then, the plant has continued to suffer setbacks, including electrical failures due to the lingering effects from saltwater corrosion.
Schumer secured $810 million in FEMA funds to help Nassau County rebuild the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The FEMA funds were awarded through a new ‘alternatives procedures’ program that provides lump sum payments to Sandy-damaged facilities.
The long term goals of the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative will divert treated effluent from Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and the Long Beach Wastewater Treatment Plant to the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant where it will be released 3 miles out into the Atlantic Ocean through the Wantagh facility’s preexisting ocean outfall pipe. The power upgrade plan will modernize the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and pave the way for improvements to regional wastewater treatment efforts which will restore the health of the Western Bays. Schumer said that instead of defiling the waterways with countless tons of life-crushing nitrogen pollution, this initiative means that the health of the wetlands will be restored, serving as a vital bulwark against future flooding and storm surges. Therefore, it’s of the utmost importance that this initiative remain intact and on schedule.
According to Nassau County, the existing power needs of the plant will exceed the maximum electric capacity, especially once permanent repairs, mitigation projects and other improvements to the plant are completed. As part of “phase E4” of the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative, Nassau County negotiated in an agreement with PSEG-LI to design and construct two electric 11,000kW service feeders that will deliver primary electrical service to the Bay Park Treatment Sewage Plant. However, this plan must be approved by FEMA before it can move forward. As the electric demand at the plant is increasing, the need to provide more power is critical.
Schumer today said called on FEMA to approve Nassau County’s single source procurement request to provide additional power to Long Island’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. Schumer said that without additional electric power, the safety and continuous operation of the treatment processes could be at risk because sediment or sludge could built up. According to Nassau County, a design of the electric feeders must be in place by this summer, at the latest, in order to have the feeders available by September 2020. With the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative currently scheduled for completion in April 2022, any additional delay in moving forward could impact the overall schedule of the initiative, something Schumer is working to avoid by making this public push today.
A letter from Senator Schumer to FEMA appears below:
Dear Administrator Long:
I write to urge you to swiftly approve Nassau County’s single source procurement request to provide additional power to Long Island’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant (Bay Park or “BPSTP”). Bay Park urgently needs extra power in order to move forward with the FEMA approved Phase E4 project to increase resiliency, clean water, and implement their effluent division project. As the plant quickly moves towards its maximum load, without swift FEMA approval the PhaseE4 project will fall behind schedule and the operations of Bay Park and the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant Ocean Outfall – Effluent Diversion Project, also known as the Western Bays Resiliency Initiative could derail.
Nassau County’s single source procurement proposal would allow for Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) through PSEG Long Island to be the sole source for the instillation of two 11MW 13.2 kV feeders. The instillation of these two feeders is essential to deliver electrical service to the plant in order move forward with their Phase E4 project, previously approved by FEMA in May 2017.
The additional electricity from PSEG Long Island would expand BPSTP’s scope through their Phase E4 plan to improve water quality and strengthen the resiliency measures of Bay Park. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, BPSTP continues to work on their resiliency efforts and the swift instillation of these feeders is essential to the resiliency of the sewage treatment plant in the case of another storm. In addition to increasing resiliency, BPSTP would utilize the extra power to improve water quality across the region. The aging infrastructure of Bay Park and continued discharge of treated effluent into
the Reynolds Channel are a dangerous and unnecessary risk to the environment and local residents, Phase E4 is critical to preventing further environmental damage. The effluent diversion project will improve water quality by pumping the effluent from Bay Park to an existing ocean outfall pipe and in consequence help restore marshlands that protect the shore from flood waters and storm surges. Without the additional feeders, more water cannot be treated through the BPSTP and the FEMA approved Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant Ocean Outfall – Effluent Diversion Project could be delayed putting local residents and waterways at greater risk.
Thank you for your consideration of this important project. FEMA’s swift approval of the single source procurement proposal for Long Island’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant is essential to Long Island’s resiliency and environmental quality. Should you have any further questions please contact my staff.
Charles E. Schumer
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