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For Release: Friday, November 2, 2012

DEC Announces State Begins To Implement Breach Contingency Plan for Long Island Barrier Islands

Pumping Restriction Lifted for Long Island and Lower Hudson River Valley

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today announced the state formally began to implement the Breach Contingency Plan for Long Island by requesting that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers evaluate the breaches at Smith Point County Park and Cupsogue County Park in Suffolk County. These breaches are on the east and west sides of Moriches inlet. If the Corps concludes closing the breaches is necessary and cost effective, the State will pay its portion of the non-federal share of the project through the New York Works program.

"Hurricane Sandy caused catastrophic damage to the barrier beaches of Long Island," Commissioner Martens said. "With the help of the Army Corps, we are taking the first step to fix those breaches. The state is prepared to allocate funds as quickly as possible through the New York Works program to protect the bay communities, infrastructure and habitat."

Since Tuesday, DEC and its local and federal partners have been documenting the damage to Long Island's coast. Through these assessments, three breaches have been identified to date. The Smith Point County Park breach is approximately 50 yards wide and located approximately 5,000 meters west of the west jetty of Moriches Inlet. The Moriches Inlet breach almost completely washed Cupsoque County Park into Moriches Bay. The National Park Service is conducting further assessments of the breach in the Fire Island National Seashore.

"The Breach Contingency Plan lays out the steps necessary to rebuild the breached sections of Long Island," Commissioner Martens said. "DEC has solid partnerships with the Army Corps, other federal agencies and Suffolk County that will expedite the implementation of the plan and the start of the recovery process for Long Island's beaches."

In accordance with Beach Contingency Plan, the Department of Environmental Conservation received a request from Suffolk County for assistance in closing the Smith Point and Cupsoque County Park breaches. DEC sent a request to the Corps today seeking assistance.

Under the cost-sharing arrangement in the Breach Contingency Plan, the federal government would pay for 65 percent of the costs to fix the breaches. The state and local portions of the cost is 35 percent.

The Corps evaluation is expected to be complete within a week to 10 days.

Permit Requirements for Pumping Water is Suspended for Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties

Under a temporary authorization, businesses and homeowners may discharge water from flooded properties in Westchester, Rockland, Nassau and Suffolk counties. If water contains significant recoverable material, all reasonable measures should be taken to collect and properly dispose of the material prior to pumping out the structure.

The suspension of permitting requirements remains in effect until November 25, 2012, and applies only to flood-related discharges where an expedited response is needed. In all counties water should be pumped into the sewer system where one is available, if none is available then it should be discharge to storm water sewers or ditches. Pumped water should not be discharged where in can flow onto adjacent properties.

DEC suspended this requirement for New York City on Thursday.

Where a significant spill has occurred, the owner or operator must report the spill to DEC's Spill Hotline (1-800-457-7362) and use environmental contractors to handle, treat and dispose of such substances properly prior to discharging to the sewer system. Contractors who collect and dispose of released petroleum or hazardous substances must comply with all requirements for the handling, treatment and disposal of the collected materials.

Additional guidance on the above requirements can be found on the DEC website:

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