By Alexander Dworkowitz
In an effort to reduce pollution in the East River and Long Island Sound, the city plans to undertake a $125 million project to renovate a College Point sewage treatment plant at the beginning of 2005.
The Tallman Island Water Pollution Control Plant on Powell’s Cove Boulevard and 127th Street is slated for three years of repairs.
The project is part of a larger effort to reduce pollution in the bodies of water at the northern edge of Queens.
In March, Gov. George Pataki announced the appropriation of $83.2 million to improve water quality in the East River and Long Island Sound.
The 12 projects in the governor’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan for Long Island Sound include $14.8 million for upgrading Tallman Island. The city is paying for the remainder of the work on the treatment plant.
The funding is aimed at bringing the East River and Long Island Sound in compliance with the state’s 1996 Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, which adopted tougher standards for water pollution.
The plant discharges nitrogen from human waste into the water. High levels of nitrogen contributes to hypoxia, a condition that produces algae and makes it difficult for animals living in the water to survive.
The $125 million project is designed to improve the plant, which was built in 1938, so less nitrogen spills into the water.
The work includes repairs to blowers, which blow oxygen onto the sewage in order to reduce concentrations of nitrogen, said Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the city Department of Environmental Protection.
“In order to get that biological process to work properly, you need a lot of oxygen,” Michaels said.
Before starting the project, the city plans to produce an environmental assessment statement, a study of the impact of the surrounding area.
“There will be a full evaluation before the construction takes place of the impact on the local environment,” said Michaels, who pointed out that the project said will mean an increase in truck traffic.
Residents of College Point have been somewhat content with the plant, which sits at the northern edge of the neighborhood.
“They have been a pretty good neighbor,” said Tony Tondo, commodore of the College Point Yacht Club, which sits next to the plant.
Sabina Cardali, president of the College Point Civic and Taxpayers Association, said she was happy the city was finally getting around to renovating the old plant.
“I think they should get to it,” she said. “Too many years have gone by.”
Reach reporter Alexander Dworkowitz by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141.