NEW YORK—More than 200 million gallons of sewage spills from Superstorm Sandy in New York have led to FEMA’s largest infrastructure award to the state so far. The federal disaster agency is giving the state of New York about $730 million to repair and upgrade the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Sandy caused a collective total of 100 million gallons of sewage spills in New York City, while the Bay Park plant alone spilled about 100 million gallons of untreated sewage into Long Island’s Hewlett Bay, according to a study by environmental group Climate Central. In the more than six weeks it took to completely restore plant operations, an additional 2.2 billion gallons of partially treated sewage spilled out from the plant.
FEMA will give the state at least $657 million for the plant, and the governor’s office said that the state will add in $73 million of previously awarded federal community development block grant money.
The funds will be used for a series of major upgrades and repairs. A large dike will be built around the entire plant to protect against the 500-year storm and expected rising sea level. The electrical system and 57 pump stations will be elevated and hardened.
A larger sewage collection line for storm-flow levels will be built, and the sludge dewatering equipment and building will be replaced and hardened.
The plant was inundated with water during Sandy, and main pumping systems were under 9 feet of water. The flooding caused sewage backup and overflow into low-lying homes and burst through the street at one point. The plant shut down for 50 hours and its electrical system was destroyed, and other key systems were badly damaged.