Against a backdrop of the shining waters of Oyster Bay Harbor on a recent postcard-perfect fall afternoon, Governor George E. Pataki and State Senator Carl Marcellino together announced the delivery of more than $5.3 million of Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act funds for programs to maintain and improve the quality of the harbor and the Long Island Sound.
Included is a $3.75 million grant for the Oyster Bay Sewer District that will allow for improvements to a waste water treatment plant that will reduce the level of nitrogen discharged into the sound by 62 percent.

Federal Environmental Protection Agency standards require the implementation of such technology to ensure a clean environment into the next century.

"This additional level of water treatment will allow us to bring the discharged water to a degree of cleanliness far above the minimum requirements," said an elated Thomas D. Galasso, Chairman of the Oyster Bay Sewer District Board of Commissioners. "It will put us 15 years ahead of what's required by the EPA."

Governor Pataki and Senator Marcellino also awarded a half-million dollar grant to install a sanitary sewage treatment system to reduce pollutants and contaminates reaching the Sound, Oyster Bay Harbor and Mill Neck Preserve. This project will improve the waste water by treating runoffs and other forms of "dirty water" that drain off from the land and can cause beach and shellfish bed closures.

Visiting Oyster Bay for the third time in two weeks, the governor remarked that with these funds the Oyster Bay Sewer District "will be able to keep the oyster in Oyster Bay."

Senator Marcellino, a Senate sponsor of the Bond Act legislation that passed in 1996, described the funds as a "significant source of support for Oyster Bay."

He continued, "these allocations, in addition to funds previously approved, will help us to further protect and preserve our marine resources and the quality of our harbors and the Long Island Sound."

"The bond act funds will help ensure that the bodies of water surrounding our community are brought to the best possible environmental quality," said Oyster Bay Sewer District Commissioner James P. Murphy, Jr.

The $3.75 million grant will allow the district to significantly exceed the stringent requirements set earlier this year by federal, regional and local officials.

"The more we reduce nitrogen, the healthier it is for the sound, particularly for the fish and marine life," said Oyster Bay Sewer District Commissioner Joseph G. Pecora, P.E. Speaking for his two fellow commissioners, Pecora added, "of course, Oyster Bay isn't the only community using the sound, so it's appropriate that Bond Act money be used for many other improvement projects to benefit the entire region."

The environmental theme of the afternoon was underscored by Senator Marcellino and Governor Pataki. When introducing the governor, Marcellino likened Pataki to Theodore Roosevelt, who left Oyster Bay for Washington and a presidency that historians praise for its emphasis on conservation and natural preservation. The governor took up the theme, addressing the children in attendance, reiterating that it is his aim to preserve New York's environment for "the children of the 21st century."

Governor Pataki made note of the recent state funding of projects aimed at preserving clean air and water throughout the state. On previous visits, he pledged state funds aimed at the renovation and restoration of the Jakobson Shipyard property.

In all, some $26 million of Bond Act money has been designated for Long Island, $8 million of which will go to Oyster Bay, pointed out Senator Marcellino. Most of those projects will benefit the residents served by the Oyster Bay Sewer District, which covers 975 acres, and includes the hamlet of Oyster Bay and small portions of surrounding communities through approximately 2,000 hookups and 20.3 miles of sewer mains.

Oyster Bay Sewer District Report
Produced by Ryan & Ryan PR, Inc.
Farmingdale, NY