Treyger urges state to use Sandy funds for Coney Island plant upgrade

New York State is about to receive more than $300 million from the federal government to upgrade its sewage treatment plants to prevent damage in future Sandy-type storms. Mark Treyger, a Democratic hopeful for Coney Island’s City Council seat, said he thinks the water treatment plant in that coastal community should be high on the list of facilities getting a makeover.

“Coney Island was one of many New York communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy. During, and in the immediate aftermath of the storm, people who were unable to evacuate, as well as those who quickly returned to their homes, did not have access to clean drinking water or reliable sanitation services,” Treyger said.

Located on Knapp Street, the Coney Island Waste Water Treatment Plant was hit with numerous problems during Hurricane Sandy, Treyger said. Water from Shell Bank Creek came over the plant’s bulkheads and flooded the building. The debris from the flood clogged parts of the plant and power was lost. In addition, a 72-inch outfall pipe had been previously shut down for repairs, leaving the plant in even worse shape, Treyger said.

“Our part of coastal south Brooklyn - not just New York and America's playground - is particularly vulnerable to future natural disasters,” he said.

“In the event that another storm, of similar or even greater magnitude to Sandy, hits our area, we must be prepared. I strongly urge New York to use the money given to us by the Environmental Protection Agency to, among other critical projects, expedite desperately needed sewer upgrades in Coney Island,” Treyger said.

Treyger, a civics teacher at New Utrecht High School and longtime Democratic Party activist, is running for the council seat in the 47th District (Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst). He spoke out in the wake of an announcement from the http://www.epa.gov/ US Environmental Protection Agency that it will provide grants of $340 million to the state of New York for improvements to waste water and drinking water treatment facilities impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

Environmental issues have been at the forefront of Treyger’s council campaign so far. Last month, he helped Assemblyman Bill Colton (D-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) organize a protest rally against the Bloomberg Administration’s plan to convert the defunct Southwest Brooklyn Incinerator in Bensonhurst into a marine transfer station for the Sanitation Department.

The seat Treyger is seeking is currently held by Councilman Domenic Recchia Jr., a Democrat who is term limited. Recchia has announced that he intends to run for congress in 2014.

Coney Island, which suffered massive damage from Sandy, is sure to be a focus of the council race.

Six months after Sandy hit, the EPA is continuing its efforts to assist areas damaged by the superstorm, officials said. On May 2, the agency announced a new aid program. 

“As communities continue to recover following Hurricane Sandy’s devastation, it’s important that their efforts to rebuild our infrastructure such as wastewater and drinking water facilities are approached in a sustainable way,” EPA Acting Administrator Bob Perciasepe said. “These funds are another critical step in the administration’s ongoing effort to help New York and New Jersey recover and move forward in a way that ensures local communities are stronger than ever before,” he said.

“With extreme weather conditions increasingly becoming the norm, congress wisely provided funding to make sure our wastewater and drinking water facilities can withstand Hurricane Sandy-sized storms,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.

The funds were authorized by the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 and signed into law by President Obama on Jan. 29.