2001-10-20 / Front Page

DEP: Bay Is Safe To Use Again After 104 Million Gallon Dump

By Howard Schwach

DEP: Bay Is Safe To Use Again
After 104 Million Gallon Dump
By Howard Schwach

The city’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is telling those who live in proximity to Jamaica Bay that the bay is safe for fishing and recreational uses once more after it dumped 104 million gallons of raw sewage into that bay last weekend.

"The water quality impact from the bypass was limited in its geographic extent," Joel Miele, the agency’s commissioner says. "The three impacted creeks (Spring, Fresh and Hendrix) showed elevated coliform levels near the mouths of open waters of the bay, but surrounding waters in Jamaica Bay showed little or no elevation from their normal levels."

The agency said that people may resume "recreational activities in the area by October 17."

According to Meile, repairs on the large outlet pipe were begun at 8 a.m. on Thursday, October 11. At that time, the Brooklyn plant began dumping raw sewage into the bay. It was expected that the repairs would take three full days and that 180 million gallons of sewage would be dumped into the bay.

There were a number of local residents who believed that the agency could not complete the repairs in the appointed time.

According to the DEP, however, the repairs were completed in 55 hours and 20 minutes – 16 hours and 40 minutes less than the expected 72 hours.

Because of the shortened work time, the waste dump was approximately 60 million gallons less than the planned amount.

The DEP says that the repair will insure that such a problem will not arise again at a later date.

Residents in Broad Channel and Rockaway, as well as fishing boat operators in Brooklyn had expressed concern about the amount of raw sewage being dumped into the bay as well as its effect on marine life and water-based activities around the bay.

The agency’s Marine Sciences Section will continue to assess the impact of the dump on the bay over the coming months, according to Miele.


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