On Tuesday, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano issued an executive order calling on residents to conserve water because the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant was underwater during the storm and is no longer operational. The shutdown caused sewer lines at homes across the South Shore to back up, spilling raw sewage into streets. The county Department of Health issued an advisory, saying that people should stay clear of spilled sewage. On Wednesday, the county began diverting sewage from Bay Park into Rockaway Channel, Mangano said. Temporary repairs to the plant were under way, but full repair of the facility will not be complete for at least six months, and perhaps as long as a year.
Sewage can only be cleaned with a solution of water, soap and 10 percent household bleach, according to the Health Department.
To reduce water use, Mangano said, residents should:
• Stop watering grass and washing cars.
• Limit laundry and washer use to full loads.
• Shorten shower time.
• Limit flushing toilets.
You should always wear gloves when cleaning sewage.
Residents with non-life-threatening emergencies such as sewage backups should call (888) 684-4274. Anyone coping with a life-threatening emergency should dial 911. For more information on the county’s Conserve Water Order, visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/health.
How to help
The American Red Cross has been out in full force throughout the week, with 17 shelters operating on Long Island after the storm hit. Chris Kutner, co-chairman of Long Island’s American Red Cross Board of Trustees, estimated that thousands of Sandy refugees were using the shelters since being displaced from their homes.
If people would like to get involved with the Red Cross, Kutner said, they can make donations of food or clothing, or volunteer. “When a disaster like this takes away everything that they own, they turn to the Red Cross,” he said, “and we try not to say no. We do the best we can to raise the funds, and then take care of people in their hour of darkest need.”