Stop The Sale of Nassau Sewage Treatment Plants
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano has taken several sly steps to privatize three major Nassau County sewage treatment plants in order to reduce the budget gap.
Mangano hired Morgan Stanley as financial advisor for $24,750 to examine Requests for Qualifications from companies to purchase or lease Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove sewage treatment plants. (You should know that contracts of $25,000 or more require legislative approval.) Morgan Stanley will also receive an advisory fee of $100,000 per quarter and, when the purchase or lease deal is finalized, is guaranteed to receive a minimum of $5 million. This contract was approved by the legislature--after the fact.
Three companies have submitted bids. All three are foreign-owned multinational concerns that have a history of driving profits by:
1) over-charging the consumer
2) cutting costs and staff resulting in poor plant maintenance and upgrades, poor quality control, poor effluent testing and discharge
3) increasing market by accepting additional waste streams (trucking in fracking fluid from upstate NY gas extraction operations are already being discussed)
Nassau County residents can expect an increase of as much as 1,100% in sewage disposal charges if billed through a private company. Rather than paying a $135/year sewage tax, residents will be billed for sewage services which could be as much as $135 per month--based on what happened when Nassau County water was privatized to Aqua.
Currently, more than 64,500,000 gallons of sewage/day are deposited into our South Shore bays--the water between Long Island and our barrier beaches of Long Beach, Jones Beach and Fire Island. This process is closely monitored by County and State agencies. By selling these plants to a private company, County and State agencies will lose the ability to monitor and regulate plant effectiveness in forbidding toxic materials from wastewater before it is deposited onto Long Island shores.
Where other municipalities have privatized public water and wastewater services, these facilities experience higher levels of contaminants and lower environmental compliance. In fact, the three companies that are bidding on Mangano's project have such poor track records that some municipalities were eventually forced to buy back the facilities in an effort to regain control of the wastewater treatment. (These buy-back deals were also arranged through Morgan Stanley, the same firm brokering privatization in Nassau County.)
Lastly, it is interesting to note that the company leading in the bid right now is Violia, the same company that Mangano selected for privatization of Long Island buses, before the public had an opportunity to voice their opposition.
The negative impacts of privatization greatly exceed the benefits of a one-time budget fix. But Mangano's plan is moving forward rapidly without scrutiny by the public or our legislators.
The time for action is now.
Can we afford this sale? Does any of this make sense? Does this really need to happen?
The Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations seeks 1) full disclosure of the proposal and 2) the establishment of a citizen's advisory committee to review all aspects of the deal and the financial status of our sewage plants and collection grid. The residents of Nassau County must have a voice in this decision!
If you believe that forming a Citizens Advisory Committee is important, please sign this petition. Then, please, forward it to all residents of Nassau County you know.