MAMARONECK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — We often hear that some local beaches are closed after heavy rain, with sewers overflowing and running into the Long Island Sound.
Now, as CBS2’s Lou Young reported, a group has taken action to do something to solve it.
On a perfect midsummer day, the beach at Harbor Island in Mamaroneck is crowded. It has been a good summer there, because overall, it has not rained all that much.
“Usually when it really came down at like 2 inches of rain, bingo, the beach will be closed for two or three days,” said Andrew Landau of Mamaroneck.
We’ve seen it often. The overtaxed sewage systems along the Sound Shore have been overwhelmed, or have simply broken down – as they did two summers ago in Blind Brook.
Now, a Connecticut-based environmental group has filed a lawsuit against Westchester County and four Sound Shore communities over the periodic large sewage spills and the constant drip of smaller leaks from pipes along the shore.
The group Save the Sound samples water from New London, Connecticut to City Island in the Bronx, and their scientists said Westchester towns have shown a consistent problem.
In any one of the Sound Shore communities, signs on the storm sewer drains warn that they drain into waterways and the Long Island Sound. The environmental group believes the communities really should know better.
But Westchester officials complain the county has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to upgrade sewer systems along the coast at the end of the familiar summer ritual of beach closings due to sewage.
“There are times when the beaches are closed… and it’s usually after, like, a huge thunderstorm,” said Fran Rosenfield of Harrison, who also said she was glad someone was taking action.
A federal judge could now order a faster fix and even levy fines.
Since the last big sewage spill in 2013, sewage plants in Blind Brook, Port Chester, and New Rochelle have been upgraded. The lawsuit, though, said more attention needs to be paid to the lines connecting them.