The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant is back to being fully operational, according to Nassau County Department of Public Works spokesman Mike Martino, after being severely damaged from Hurricane Sandy in late October and being shut down for more than two days, spilling 200 million gallons in the local waterways.
The plant began fully processing sewage on Nov. 21 after partially treating sewage with chlorine beginning on Nov. 1. Hurricane Sandy hit the area on Oct. 29, sending a nine-foot tidal surge into the plant at the height of the storm, devastating its infrastructure. “The seawater inundated many parts of the plant, and submerged critical pieces of equipment in saltwater, rendering them inoperable,” Martino said. “As a result, normal operation of the plant ceased.” The damage from the hurricane set back the County even further after its $70 million investment to upgrade the plant.
Martino added that the costs of repairing the damage at the plant remain undetermined. “When a full assessment is complete plans will be put in place to address the issues caused by the historic tidal surge brought by Hurricane Sandy,” he said.
When normal operation at the plant, which processes 65 million gallons of sewage per day —40 percent of the county’s sewage — was interrupted, residents near the plant had partially treated sewage bubbling up into their homes and streets. This led to the declaration of a state of emergency by Nassau County Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein on Nov. 15 to “help eliminate threats to public health and safety for those residents affected by sewage main ruptures.”
According to Mary Ellen Laurain, spokeswoman for the Nassau County Health Department, the state of emergency provided for, “homes that were in need of remediation to have a contractor available to them at no cost.” Laurain added that the health department did not advise people to remain in their homes if sewage was found, and to her knowledge, most people did not.