I finally got validation this week from the County of Westchester who runs the Mamaroneck Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). They definitely underestimated my tenacious personality and the fact that I LOVE MY BEACH. Just to bring Patch readers up to speed:
In March 2011 the WWTP in Westchester, across the Long Island Sound, released thousands of little plastic filters into the Sound. The filters, which look like wagon wheel macaroni, are used to remove nitrogen from waste water. The plastic filters reached our shores here in the Three Village area, as well as points further east in Suffolk and beaches to the west in Nassau. I was angry because I felt that the authorities did not do enough to clean up and they were never fined. So in May I collected about 250 of the wheels between West Meadow and Crane Neck and I shipped them back to the plant with a letter. I asked officials why they never removed the garbage. I never heard back from them.
Throughout the year I continued collecting and saving the wagon wheels. Then about a month ago after a storm, hundreds more washed up on our beaches. I wrote a second letter to the WWTP’s Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Facilities Thomas Lauro. I asked for some answers and enclosed about 200 more wagon wheels in a box with the letter. Mr. Lauro finally wrote back to me.
I have a few comments about his letter. First, despite the fact that Mr. Lauro never says “Thanks for taking the time to pick up nearly 500 of our plastic wagon wheels from your beach,” I really do appreciate the fact that he wrote back to me.
He calls the plastic wagon wheels, “media” which, even though I work at a medical school and people assume I am scientific due to osmosis, I still had to look up the use of the word. It’s “water-filtration speak” for a “filter.” He states twice that the release of the media was NOT due to carelessness. Okay, but I still think the WWTP should have been fined. He also states that he was unable to come onto our beaches because there was no public access at the end of Old Field Road. Come on. They are the government. Couldn’t they have called someone in Old Field and asked “Where’s a good spot to go down to the beach?”
I am personally inviting Mr. Lauro and his cleanup crew to come to my house. They can park in my driveway and I will escort them down to the beach so they can finish cleaning up the “media.” Then, I will be satisfied. Because, Mr. Lauoro, I love Smithtown Bay and it’s the right thing to do.