Nearly all the communities within the 11th Legislative District are situated along the shorelines of Hempstead Harbor, Manhasset Bay and Long Island Sound. This makes our efforts to reduce the levels of nitrogen and other contaminants found within these bodies of water especially important.
Too much nitrogen causes algae to grow faster than aquatic ecosystems can process. Significant increases in algae harm water quality and food resources by depriving fish and other aquatic life of the oxygen they need to survive. Excess nitrogen can also contaminate our potable water by infiltrating Long Island’s sole-source freshwater aquifer.
Here in Nassau County, we are continuing to explore and deploy natural processes to remove nitrogen and other harmful contaminants from waterways, and I am proud to have fought for and secured funding for critical upgrades in District 11 and across Nassau County.
Crescent Beach in Glen Cove, for example, has been closed for 10 years due to bacterial contaminants that have been found in the estuary that flows onto the beach. County-funded studies revealed that a natural solution utilizing sea-grass plantings would be feasible because of the way they can efficiently soak up harmful bacteria without harming the plants themselves. Thus far, enhancing plantings and re-routing some water flow to promote natural filtration has yielded positive results, and we are hopeful this will put Crescent Beach on the road to reopening at long last.
We are also continuing to make long-term investments in pivotal sewer infrastructure. Three county contracts totaling nearly $20 million are delivering key upgrades such as new sewers in Sea Cliff, upgrades to the Glen Cove Wastewater Treatment and Cedar Creek Waste Control Treatment Plants, and key upgrades to the bulkhead located along the Glen Cove Treatment Plant and Glen Cove Creek, being replaced to protect nearby waterways.
The county is also dedicating resources to aid residents in areas outside of sewer coverage areas. SEPTIC (Septic Environmental Program to Improve Cleanliness) will provide grants to replace standard or failing systems with state-of-the-art alternative wastewater treatment systems, which are designed to provide a cost-effective and environmentally sound options for the thousands of businesses homeowners. Not only are they better for the environment, they’re more convenient because they require fewer pump-outs.
Through a matching grant program presented in partnership with New York State, eligible Nassau County property owners can apply for up to $20,000 in grants toward the installation of nitrogen-reducing septic systems. Nassau homeowners and small businesses that discharge less than 1,000 gallons a day of wastewater are eligible to apply. Visit www.nassaucountyny.gov/septicreplace for details, including a list of provisionally approved manufacturers.
Since we live so close to the water and our drinking water is literally beneath our feet, I will always remain vigilant in my oversight of matters impacting Nassau County’s environment and wastewater management infrastructure. Your insights are important, and I invite you to contact my office at 516-571-6211 or firstname.lastname@example.org with your questions and comments about how we can work together to build a better future for Nassau County.
—From the Desk of Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton