50,000 gallons of wastewater spilled near Greenport woods

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The western portion of the biological nutrient removal tank overflowed July 15.

Almost 50,000 gallons of partially treated wastewater overflowed at the Greenport sewage treatment plant during a July 15 lightning storm, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Greenport Village Utility Director Jack Naylor said the water overflowed in the western portion of the biological nutrient removal tank where the effluent treatment process is nearly complete and ready to be pumped out into the Long Island Sound. Out of the total amount spilled, he said between 25 to 150 gallons contained “suspending solids,” which are microorganisms used to treat wastewater.

Officials said the spill was confined to the plant site on Moore’s Lane and none reached nearby Moore’s Woods.

“It’s an unfortunate incident,” Mr. Naylor said. “By no means is it a disaster. About 99.8 percent of it is clean water.”

The tank overflowed for about 10 hours — from 9 p.m. July 15 until 7 a.m. July 16 — after an alarm didn’t sound when lightning caused a brief power outage and a screw pump didn’t restart after the power was restored, state and village officials said.

DEC spokesman Bill Fonda said village plant operators recovered what waste material they could and returned it to the plant so that it could be fully processed. The DEC is currently reviewing the incident, he added.

Mr. Naylor said the equipment problem, which he described as a “rare occurrence,” has since been fixed.

“This is the first time it happened,” he said. “It pointed out minor flaws and now we’ve taken care of them.”

The DEC is expecting an update from the village on the incident by Aug. 31.

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