Long Beach, NY – In an effort to continue environmental studies of the polluted Western Bays, Assemblyman Harvey Weisenberg (D-Nassau County) strongly advocated for and successfully secured $300,000 in funding under the Environmental Protection Fund in the final state budget to conduct a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Study. The Assemblyman wrote to Speaker Sheldon Silver in early February to request that this item be a priority for the Assembly.
The funding will ensure the critical next step in ongoing measures to scientifically assess the damage already done to this waterway and to protect the bays from further harm.
“Our local environmental groups and civic organizations were instrumental in ensuring this money was included in the budget. The Citizens Campaign for the Environment, the Point Lookout Civic Association, Sludge Stoppers, Operation Splash, and Assemblyman Bob Sweeney, Chairman of the Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, all pulled together to help me secure the funding,” stated Assemblyman Weisenberg.
“We receive calls in City Hall every day from residents concerned about the safety and contamination of our waterways,” commented Long Beach City Council President Fran Adelson. “As we live on a barrier island, our daily lives can be affected by this issue. We’re thrilled to partner with Assemblyman Weisenberg and other governmental agencies, civic associations and private citizens. We are working to be part of the solution.”
Home to four sewage treatment plants and one power plant which discharge 64.5 million gallons of wastewater on a daily basis, the Western Bays have suffered from degraded water quality, excessive seaweed growth and increased shellfish harvesting closures. The treatment plants have amassed several violations over the years for releasing harmful materials into the bays. Beginning in 1998, the Western Bays have been on the Department of Environmental Conservation’s list of impaired water bodies, first for pathogens and again in 2006 for excessive nutrients.
“I’m really happy about the $300,000 that Assemblyman Weisenberg has been able to help obtain,” said Scott Bochner, Long Beach resident and co-found of the Sludge Stoppers Task Force. “The completion of the TMDL Study will be really good for the City of Long Beach because it will show what the Bay Park sewage treatment plant has been discharging. Once we show the federal government and the DEC, we will be able to get federal dollars to not only upgrade the Bay Park plant but also the Long Beach sewage treatment plant.”
“It is imperative that we persist in the lengthy process of identifying damages and seeking cleanup. Once we understand the science, we can take steps to implement new pollution controls to reduce the impact,” Assemblyman Weisenberg concluded.