Surfrider Foundation – Clean Ocean and Bays Action Alert for Nassau County.

I just received this email from the Surfrider Foundation:

 

The Surfrider Foundation has created an Action Alert…

Do you know when you’re swimming, fishing, or clamming in sewage? 

Earlier this year the Nassau County Right to Know of a Sewage Spill Bill was introduced that requires agencies to report sewage spills and other discharge violations to the public. Unfortunately, this bill has been sitting on Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt’s desk since April.

If you live in Nassau County, take action email Legislator Schmitt and tell him it is time the Spill Bill gets on the calendar for a vote.

Please forward this to everyone you know.
Thanks
Scott

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One thought on “Surfrider Foundation – Clean Ocean and Bays Action Alert for Nassau County.”

  1. Ms. Ford’s Choice

    As the former head of Nassau County Health, Social and Human services vertical I can recall an incident in Hempstead where partially treated sewage was released and the Town government who was more concerned with its reputation than the health of citizens was debating whether to inform their neighbors.

    Since it was a public health issue, I called my boss and then the Health Commissioner giving the TOH 2 hours to either issue a release or the County Health department would issue one. During that interval I called in the Nassau County Police who went door to door with a ‘must boil water’ handout. This was not about fault it was about doing the right thing.

    The same protocol should have been used here by the County Health Department , or a concerned legislature – under the State notification guidelines or plain common sense.

    The standard for notification is —

    ” Notification of a Public health hazard means an existing or imminent condition which can be responsible for or cause illness, injury or death and for which immediate corrective or remedial action is required.”

    My guess is that “The Bay Park facility, which serves roughly 40 percent of Nassau County, discharges approximately 70 million gallons of wastewater per day into Reynolds Channel……” would be covered by the notification regulation.

    A truly disconcerting part of the story is the fact that Denise Ford put her politics before her neighbors health by not informing them. “The plant leaked the sewage into the bay for at least 18 months, and when a new law was proposed to notify residents when those waters were polluted and not to swim or fish there, Ford let the bill fail. She has refused to sign that bill, and that bill is no longer put forth in the legislature” That is, in an act that confirms she was as guilty as a kid with their hands in the cookie jar, then attempted to take credit by reintroducing the same notification bill she killed for a year, just a few weeks before the elections.

    It is frightening to contemplate what type of human being would not want to notify parents whose children could be swimming in raw sewage, husbands who fish then serve the catch from unsanitary waters to their families, friends who sail, boat and jet ski breathing in spray from a surface discharge.

    What could she be thinking ? Well she answered that question saying it was more important to buy new equipment and fix the problems first, “to make sure we don’t need to notify anybody that there is raw sewage going into Reynolds Channel.”

    To think Ms. Ford was too busy shopping for equipment to notify the people of Long Beach does not pass the laugh test. If she spent time on other far less exhausting activities she could have had the stamina to do the right thing take a stand and live up to the trust her neighbors her placed on her last election day – not the party who gives her money.

    Finally, the state noted that under the terms of the $1 million settlement, the county must spend $500,000 to study the feasibility of creating an ocean outfall pipe for the plant. Even the Nassau DPW agreed with the fine and emphasized the importance of the outflow pipe feasibility study. “The feasibility study will help determine the best course of action for Bay Park,” Martino (spokesman) said.

    In the same article “County Legislator Denise Ford (R-Long Beach), called the penalty “harsh” and “excessive,” ( meaning no study?) and said that though necessary repairs are needed, it is unfair that the move will cost taxpayers. “It’s a lot of money,” Ford said. “I think it is unfair for the taxpayer — it’s something they had no control over.”

    Yes- but you did for 6 years. That was bad enough, but oversights can be forgiven and corrective actions taken.

    But when you crossed the line by deliberately withholding information from your neighbors – keeping them uninformed of an ongoing health hazard which could have led to serious illness – you committed an indefensible breach of the trust that for centuries defined the relationship between you the representative and we the people who hired you. Without flinching you chose party over people and bill boards over your oath.

    And this time there are not enough bill boards to hide behind.

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