News: National Green Week on Long Island
(Long Island, N.Y.)Environmentalists across the nation get together during the first week in February for National Green Week to educate America’s youth on better conservation habits. There are more than a few environmental issues on Long Island that deserve attention. This year marks the International Year of Forests, but on Long Island it’s the beaches and water supply that need help with antipollution efforts.
Environmental focus has been largely overshadowed by economical issues and the distresses of New York State. With Nassau County‘s financial crisis reaching the top of the news lines during the last month, the week of national awareness has hardly received the coverage of past years. Nonetheless, it is important to recognize the environmental strides made by the Mangano administration – here’s something the current county executive got right:
Stepping into office, Edward Mangano inherited the monumental task of handling the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant. Experts and workers have long since regarded the plant as a catastrophe- waiting-to-happen due to the poor conditions of the plant’s facilities. Mangano pumped $10 million into renovation projects for the plant and immediately put $2 million into new equipment. It’s been estimated that $27 million will go into maintaining the plant over the next four years.
The plant is an invaluable asset to Nassau County‘s sewage treatment. It extends from Freeport to the Suffolk County barrier and reaches the tip of the North Shore. It’s responsible for everything that goes from residential drainage to the ocean. Many have complained that it was not doing an adequate job filtering before dumping sewage into beach water. All of what’s treated eventually winds up near Jones Beach.
If the plant were to fail, like many predicted it would, Nassau County residents would not have a place to release their wastes, (just think of the amount of un-flushed toilets!) This might seem like a farfetched threat, but prior to Mangano’s contribution, every stage of the facility experienced failures. There wasn’t a necessary amount of spare or backup equipment; all the plant seemed to breed was a bundle of disheartened employees.
Many pointed the finger at Richard Cutungo, the head of the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant, whom many say is unqualified. Workers have also blamed the condition of the plant on former County Executive Thomas Suozzi for the lack of efforts made by his administration to correct the sewage problem. The overall consensus seemed to be a desire for new management, and the appointment of a person more fit to handle the complaints of staff in Cutungo’s position.
Another potential risk of perpetual damage to the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant is one of methane gas leaks. The facility has many pipes containing methane that were once in danger of emitting fumes into the atmosphere. This caused a heightened risk for gas-related explosions. Methane, which is extremely flammable, is even more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide.
Another environmental project occurs annually in Oyster Bay for the purposes of dune stabilization. It takes place over Tobay Beach in attempt to protect the beach quality and layout of the ocean. Last year over 1,400 residents came out to plant 220,000 stalks of dune grass for the 22nd annual event held on March 20th.
Long Island‘s drinking water has always been an issue of great concern. The source of water for residents comes from the ground in elaborately designed aquifers. Over 375 million gallons of groundwater are consumed daily from residents of Nassau and Suffolk County.
One tip of conversation can take effect during long processes when water use isn’t necessary (for example, turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth). Perhaps if Long Islanders keep these issues in mind, we’ll be on the right track come April 22nd’s Earth Day.