Heavy rain on Sunday, March 8, 2011 contributed to the release into the Long Island Sound of thousands of small white plastic disks from the Westchester County Wastewater Treatment Plant in Mamaroneck. The disks washed up on shore from Rye to New Rochelle to Nassau and Suffolk County.
What are these disks?
These disks are made of HDPE (high density polyethylene). HDPE is a non-toxic plastic that is used in everyday storage of food items. For example, it is the same plastic commonly used for making milk containers. The disks, which pose no health risks to the public, are white, about the size of a quarter and resemble a wagon wheel. Residents who find the disks on their property or the beach can throw them in the garbage. As with any debris, it is recommended that people use gloves or wash their hands after handling the disks.
Green Beaches, Clean Beaches matching funds program
The wastewater treatment plant is under construction to provide for advanced wastewater treatment and these disks are used in the process of removing nitrogen from the wastewater to prevent hypoxia (inadequate oxygen) in the Sound. The disks escaped from one of the tanks during startup of the first set of process tanks. As a result of this disk release the county's Department of Environmental Facilities has established the Green Beaches, Clean Beaches Program which was undertaken as a part of the resolution of an enforcement matter brought by NYSDEC for applicable violations. This program establishes a monetary fund to support waterfront property cleanups related to the media disk releases.
To be eligible to participate in the program:
This program will be in effect through Oct. 31, 2013.
The program's funds will be used as matching funds for the costs associated with the owner's cleanup of media disks from waterfront properties located in New York State (public or private).
To apply for these matching funds, owners must provide documentation, satisfactory to the Department of Environmental Facilities, substantiating they cleaned up, on average, at least five disks per 100 feet of waterfront property for the entire property.
For more information or to obtain an application, call (914) 813-5400. You may also download the form, complete and mail it to the address below.
Westchester County Department of Environmental Facilities
270 North Avenue, 6th Fl.
New Rochelle, NY 10801
Attn: Joe Gibney