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Oversight Committee Requests State Investigate Sewage Privatization Plan

An investigation of the planned privatization of the county's sewage system has been requested.

The Cedar Creek Oversight Committee has requested that State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli investigate of Nassau County's sewage treatment system. The plan would effect the county-owned Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockway, which was found to be into Reynolds Channel.

Phillip Franco and Mark Salerno, co-chairs of the Cedar Creek Oversight Committee, sent a letter last week to DiNapoli expressing concerns about the privatization plan, including the maintenance and operation of the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh if a private contractor runs the facility and then goes bankrupt.

The letter also points out that a public-private partnership would be problematic since "there is currently no federal or state agency that regulates the maintenance of [sewage treatment plants]."

Franco said on Sunday there has not yet been a response from DiNapoli's office on the letter.

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano made a budget proposal in mid October that would involve privatizing the county’s three sewage treatment facilities, including the Bay Sewage Treatment Plant and Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant as a cost-savings measure and revenue producer to help close a more than $300 million deficit.

The county has issued a request for qualifications to take over the sewage treatment system and a request for proposals is expected to be sent out by the end of this year.

Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley has been tapped by the county as an adviser for the privatization process. Mangano told the Long Island Press that the privatization proposal would net between $900 million and $1.3 billion, which would be the largest transaction in Nassau County history.

Mangano has not publicly revealed who could potentially operate the county's sewage system but according to an investigation by the Long Island Press, two interested suitors include England-based Severn Trent PLC and Paris-based Veolia Environnement SA, which has its American headquarters in Lombard, Ill.

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