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Schumer: New Federal Dollars Available to Potentially Fund Bay Park Ocean Outfall Pipe; Resiliency Project Needed

LongIsland.com

U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding pots to help cover the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant’s Ocean Outfall Pipe.

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Nassau County, NY - June 8, 2015 - U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today revealed that there are hundreds of millions of dollars in new federal funding pots to help cover the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant’s Ocean Outfall Pipe. The plant serves over 500,000 residents in Nassau County and was crippled in the wake of Sandy and was knocked offline for two days after nine feet of saltwater entered the facility. The Bay Park Outfall Pipe is needed to help build back Nassau Back Bay’s natural, storm reducing wetlands to prevent future environmental disasters and ensure the plant meets new EPA clean water regulations.

Schumer has already secured $35M in federal funding to cover the design, engineering and permitting of an Ocean Outfall Pipe.  Once completed, over $500 million will still be needed to cover construction of the Bay Park Outfall Pipe. Schumer today pointed to a number of federal sources that can be used to help cover the remaining costs of the Ocean Outfall Pipe. First, Schumer explained that FEMA recently approved an additional $210 million in FEMA HMGP funding available for New York, which can be used for outstanding projects like the Outfall Pipe. Second, Schumer explained that if this project is submitted to HUD’s $1B National Resiliency Competition, it could be selected as a finalist and therefore, receive federal funding. Lastly, Schumer explained that the federal EPA revolving loan fund can be used to cover costs of the Outfall Pipe. This funding is offered in a combination of grants and low interest loans.

“The Bay Park Outfall Pipe is the last piece of the puzzle when it comes to rebuilding the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant from Sandy and making it more resilient against future storms; it is sorely needed to help prevent another environmental disaster from happening in Nassau County,” said Schumer. “While we have secured over $1 billion in federal funding for the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant, over $500 million is still needed to pay for an outfall pipe. I’ll continue to work with Nassau County officials to identify all federal, state, and local funding sources available to fund the remainder of this pipe.”

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano stated, "These Hazard Mitigation are a potential game-changer and bring Nassau c County one step closer to making an Ocean Outfall Pipe a reality. I thank Senator Schumer for his partnership and leadership in working to secure funds to protect our bays, marine life, marshlands and local environment."

The Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant is one of the largest and most difficult undertakings in the efforts to rebuild after Superstorm Sandy. It is also one of the most critical, with tremendous impact on the public health of over 500,000 residents in Nassau County, making the necessary investments in reconstruction and mitigation measures a basic human necessity for this community.

During Sandy, the plant was knocked offline for two days after 9 feet of saltwater entered the facility. Thousands have had to endure the noxious after-effects of its destruction while the plant released some 65 million gallons a day of partially-treated sludge into Reynolds channel and back bays which often takes many weeks, if not months, until it is thoroughly flushed out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the 44 hours the Bay Park STP was out of service, it dumped 100 million gallons of untreated sewage into Hewlett Bay. In the 44 days it took to restore operations fully at the plant, another 2.2 billion gallons of partially-treated sewage flowed through the plant. The plant since then has continued to suffer setbacks, including electrical failures due to the lingering effects from saltwater corrosion.

Thus far, Schumer secured $810 in FEMA funds to help Nassau County rebuild the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The FEMA funds were awarded through a new ‘alternatives procedures’ program that provides lump sum payments to Sandy-damaged facilities.  In addition, when crafting the Sandy Relief Bill, Schumer secured $340 million in EPA Storm Mitigation Loan Program for New York State, which is administered by EFC, and being used for the initial $35M for Bay Park Outfall pipe. Schumer also secured $150 million in HUD’s CDBG funding to upgrade the nitrogen removal system.

Nassau County still needs over $500M to complete the project and Schumer today is making a major push for officials to hone in on a variety of federal resources.  Schumer highlighted resources that would be used to help cover the cost of the rebuild and vowed to put his full weight behind locals’ plans to get this job done. Standing at the pier at Magnolia Blvd. and West Bay Drive, Schumer highlighted:

  • FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP): Schumer explained that FEMA recently provided an additional $210 million in HMGP funding for New York State projects, bringing the total to $1.38B. New York State has already set aside $1.17 billion in HMGP funds for mitigation projects submitted to FEMA. Schumer explained that part of the new $210 million can be used on outstanding mitigation projects, such as Bay Park’s outfall pipe. FEMA’s hazard mitigation grant program provides funding under Section 406 of the Stafford Act, the federal disaster law that supplies aid to states and localities to implement long-term resiliency measures after a major disaster. The purpose of these grants is to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters and to enable mitigation measures to be implemented during the immediate recovery from a disaster.
  • HUD’s National Disaster Resiliency Competition: Schumer today explained that HUD is using $1 billion in federal Sandy CDBG funds for a national resiliency competition. Approximately $181 million is specifically set aside for Sandy-hit states (NJ, NYS and NYC); $700 million is available to all areas impacted by disasters from 2011-2013, including Sandy states. HUD’s competition has 2 phases.  The first phase included the identification of need, which HUD will use to select finalists.  The finalists will develop specific projects to develop in Phase 2 and HUD will then pick projects to fund.  Schumer today said that the Outfall Pipe should be submitted to HUD’s Phase 2 competition.
  •  EPA’s Revolving Loan Fund: Schumer explained that this pot of annual funding may be used for water projects. Funding is distributed in grant and low interest loan form. Each year, the Federal government provides at least $150 million in federal funds for sewer repair projects, this year, Schumer urged EFC to provide the maximum amount (either 30 percent OR $46M) as grants; EFC has agreed to this request. Schumer explained that EFC also has hundreds of millions in unspent loan authority that can be used for the Outfall Pipe.