Friday, April 15, 2005

NYC Must Reduce Nitrogen Discharged into Sound

Here's an AP story sent to me earlier. I was too busy watching the Mets-Marlins and Yanks-Orioles to check my e-mail, but now that I've seen it, it's worth posting in its entirety. More on Saturday, I hope.

April 15, 2005, 3:04 PM EDT

ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York City must pay $13.9 million into an escrow account and adhere to a state plan to reduce waste plant discharges into Long Island Sound, under a state court decision released Friday.

The city will reduce nitrogen discharges into Long Island Bay and Jamaica Bay by upgrading five large sewage treatment plants, said state Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and acting Environmental Conservation Commissioner Denise Sheehan. Nitrogen discharges can create algae "blooms" that choke the oxygen out of water and harm or kill fish.

The city is considering an appeal, said Susan Amron of the city's Environmental Law Division. She said the city has "the most advanced" nitrogen removal program in the nation and it is the most reliable way to protect Long Island Sound. The city's plan also costs $800 million less than the previous agreement.

The decision from state Supreme Court in Manhattan calls for upgrades of the Wards Island, Bowery Bay, Tallman Island and Hunts Point plants. The plants released water to the East River that flows into Long Island Sound. The 26th Ward plant discharges into Jamaica Bay.

The decision stems from an April 2002 agreement in which the city agreed to improve nitrogen removal at its five plants over 12 years. The city sought changes in the binding consent order in February 2004.

Spitzer said those changes would have resulted in the city abandoning its commitment.

The $13.9 million escrow payment by the city would be returned to the city if it complies with the original agreement within its deadlines.


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