Raw sewage leak forces closure of Brooklyn beaches

The Brooklyn Paper
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A sewage leak caused the closure of several Brooklyn beaches last Sunday, but the situation was soon rectified and the beaches were reopened again Monday morning.

“Some seawater overflowed in a DEP [Department of Environmental Protection] sewage plant,” said Parks Department spokesperson Phil Abramson. “In the meantime, the Health Department was concerned and instructed us to close beaches on Sunday.”

Abramson said the closed beaches included Manhattan Beach and beaches in Brighton Beach, Coney Island, Kingsborough Community College and Sea Gate, as well as Kiddie Beach in Gerritsen Beach.

People were allowed to be on the sand, but there was security personnel by the water stopping people from going in while testing was being done, he said.

DEP spokesperson Angel Roman said the problem stemmed from a leakage to the bulkhead near Paerdegat Basin in Canarsie. The repairs to the bulkhead were made so this stopped the inflow of seawater into the sewer system.

A Department of Health (DOH) spokesperson said they made the decision to close the beaches following water samples that did not meet applicable standards for swimming.

While the DOH reopened the beaches, they did post a swimming advisory about possible risks.

Community environmental advocate and Brighton Beach swimmer Ida Sanoff said she heard there was a gate at the Knapp Street sewage plant that was open for 24 hours and that caused the leak.

“No one’s really said what time the leak began and when exactly the DOH made the determination to close the beaches,” said Sanoff.

Sanoff did praise the DOH for making the right decision to close the beaches.

“Even I stayed out of the water and I’m in the water six months of the year,” said Sanoff, who was at the beach last Sunday.

“I think Larry Majors, the Coney Island Park Supervisor, did great,” she said. “He was on the scene and did a terrific job.”

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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