By Stephen Bronner
Critical improvements have begun at the troubled Bay Park Sewage Plant, according to County Executive Edward Mangano.
Superstorm Sandy badly damaged the facility, causing it to dump substantial amounts of sewage into Reynolds Channel and sending raw sewage spilling into homes.
“My administration is aggressively moving forward with critical repairs to the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant,” Mangano said. “These projects will greatly improve the operations at plant and the quality of life for those who live closest to the facility.”
Odor control and power are two critical issues that are being addressed, Mangano said. The county executive added that a pilot program introduced in July that removes about 80 percent of nitrogen from treated water has so far been a success, which should bode well for nearby waterways.
The Nassau Legislature recently authorized $262 million to begin these repairs, but Democrats have held out on the remaining $300 million needed to fully repair the plant, citing the need for more oversight. The Mangano Administration said it has already invested more than $70 million into the Bay Park and Cedar Creek plants.
“When these projects are completed, Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant will have cutting-edge technology in operation and will once again become a model for other facilities across the U.S.,” Mangano said. “We promised to fix this plant and nothing will stand in the way of delivering on that promise.”
The projects, according to a county release, include:
A primary settling tank odor control facility. This project will introduce an additional treatment step in controlling odors. Due to the close proximity to the community, it was determined that a second treatment stage would significantly reduce odors emanating from the plant.
A project to replace the odor control system on the aeration tanks will reduce more odors while using fewer chemicals.
Equipment has been ordered to replace a failed control transformer which supplies power to the power plant’s control system. Another project currently underway will overhaul the remaining two engine generators to replace the entire control system for the power plant. Since Sandy, Bay Park’s temporary generators have been running 24 hours per day, seven days per week.
A contractor has been mobilized and has begun a project to clean and rehabilitate the plants digesters. The digesters were neglected for years and as a result can cause strong and unpleasant odors. During the process, expected to last 16 months, odor controls will be in place. The county said when this project is completed, the digesters will run more efficiently and remain at a constant temperature, critical to their ongoing operation.
A final tank rehabilitation project. This critical step in the sewage treatment process was compromised when Sandy flood waters rendered all of its mechanical equipment inoperable. While the tanks were addressed and were operable after Sandy, the long-term effects of the saltwater intrusion have caused some of the tanks fail at times. The final tanks, or clarifiers, represent a crucial part of the secondary treatment system, maintaining DEC permits and ensuring the treated effluent does not negatively impact the environment.
The design of improvements to the plant’s influent screening facility is complete and will be put out to bid early next month, according to Mangano. The design of improvements to the plant’s Grit Removal Facility is nearing completion and will be in the bidding process soon. The Grit building rehab design is complete and will be in the bidding process soon.