Gov. Andrew Cuomo, joined by Long Island politicians and environmental activists, helped break ground on the Bay Park Conveyance Project on Thursday.
The new structure, which will take about two years to complete, will run pipes that will transport treated water and reduce nitrogen levels in the Western Bays. Elected leaders and clean water advocates came together for the groundbreaking on the world’s 51st celebration of Earth Day.
“This is a project that will make a difference for generations,” Cuomo said. “This is going to change fundamentally the entire south shore in this area. It makes total sense. Ambitious? Yes. Expensive? Yes? A lot of work? But essential.”
The new pipes will start at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant in East Rockaway and run north to Sunrise Highway in the Village of Rockville Centre, span about seven miles east through the current aqueduct under Sunrise Highway, then turn back south in Wantagh. Finally, it will go through the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant and be deposited three miles south of land in the Atlantic Ocean.
State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach), Assemblywoman Judy Griffin (D-Rockville Centre), and Adriene Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, each praised the project during the Earth Day news conference and groundbreaking event.
“This project has been a long time in the making,” Griffin said. “It will substantially improve the quality of our water, protect the coastline, and create a healthier habitat for all of our marine life.”
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran, who has also long been a supporter of the project, released a statement about its groundbreaking.
“The revitalization of the Western Bays will improve our environment and provide greater storm resiliency to thousands of homeowners and businesses,” she said. “This significant investment in Nassau’s environment creates jobs, spurs economic development and protects homeowners by restoring the critical marshlands that serve as vital buffers during storms.