Some Homes Condemned Following Raw Sewage Leak On Long Island’s South Shore
BETHPAGE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – As the clean-up from superstorm Sandy continues, there is a new environmental concern that has sprouted up in some towns along the South Shore of Long Island.
The storm churned up debris, gasoline, home heating oil and other hazardous materials. Many homes and waterways were also inundated with raw sewage.
“They are neither addressing or acknowledging that raw sewage ran through our homes. We don’t know how to protect ourselves from it and we don’t know what the long-term effects are. We are scared,” Bay Park homeowner Randi Gerry told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Gerry’s home has been condemned, after thigh high raw sewage gushed into her house and others in the neighborhood.
Two weeks after the storm, sewage continues to buckle the streets, McLogan reported.
“When we pulled up here, this whole block was filled with raw sewage and about two to three feet high. Looked like a water main break,” South Shore contractor Scott Schellas told McLogan.
Contractors are working all across the South Shore, working on short-term safety solutions to the catastrophic breakdown of several Long Island sewage treatment plants.
“This one is full of mold. Stinks. You can smell the sewage in it,” sewage remover Pete Sobierajski told McLogan.
The biggest breach took place at the Bay Park sewage treatment facility where a nine foot wall of water flooded the pumps.
That led to the sewage inundation of more than 100 homes across nine South Shore villages, McLogan reported.
The full extent of the environmental impact is not yet known. But residents who are still without power and heat said the raw sewage just adds insult to injury.
“Raw sewage comes out all along the grass everywhere. We had two inches of sludge,” Baldwin resident John Malinowski told McLogan.
Reynolds Channel and the Rockaway Inlet to the south are now being inundated with 65 million gallons of partially treated sewage a day.
From there, the sewage flows down to Long Beach and is emptied into the Atlantic Ocean.
“It could be washing up back on shores, going into basements, down streets. That’s a public health threat,” said Adrienne Esposito with Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“We definitely don’t feel like want to live down here on south shore anymore. we want to move. but who’s going to buy our house,” Baldwin homeowner Valerie Krokowski told McLogan.
The sanitation commissioner in Baldwin said he does not see a quick fix to the problem.
“EPA and the Department of Health were here Friday and they did a site tour and they said this is a serious health hazard, these people don’t even belong here. However, they got nowhere to go,” Commissioner Jerry Brown said.
On Monday evening, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano said experts ranging from the Army Corps of Engineers to the EPA are responding and working on a solution to the sewage issue.
There have been no reports of illness due to the raw sewage and the health commissioner said clean-up instructions have been posted on the department’s website.
County officials said they hope to have the sewage flow in Bay Park plugged by the end of the month, but cautioned that it will likely take a year to fully repair the plant.