Save the Sound is pleased to report that 5 years of advocacy and investments in the Village of Mamaroneck have started to produce results.
For 4 years, we’ve been monitoring bacteria in Village of Mamaroneck waterways (in addition to 48 additional sites). The data are clear, we are starting to see more green – the color used to show safe levels of bacteria.
There are 3 major reasons for the success:
- Fixing old/cracked pipes
- Tracking untreated sewage discharges
- Controlling the geese population
Village of Mamaroneck has an impressive Department of Public Works who is actively evaluating and repairing sewage pipes in the Harbor watershed. The process entails identifying pipes and degraded connections in those pipes and then fixing. The Village also actively tracks down any discharges of untreated sewage in the area.
Additionally, a company called Goose Corps was hired to control geese at Harbor Island Beach. Geese can have a contribution to fecal pollution. Eliminating this source of pollution is a worthwhile investment.
Despite the improvements, more work remains to be done. Beaver Swamp Brook continues to be a concern. Save the Sound is committed to investigating the source, along with Arcadis and Village employees. We do know that fixing the problem will likely require a collaboration with other municipalities, in particular Harrison and Rye. Our waterways are all interconnected and do not abide by boundaries drawn on a map.
The best news in the Village of Mamaroneck is for Harbor Island Beach; a popular swimming spot in Mamaroneck. Bacteria levels were much too high in 2015. As indicated below, Save the Sound found much lower fecal bacteria in the summers of 2016 and 2017.
Swimmable beaches may sound like a no-brainer, but resident Katherine Desmond remembers otherwise.
She recently told us a great story, “Around 1999, when the Public Beach at Harbor Island had been permanently closed for three summers by the Health Department, I stopped in to visit one of my best Mamaroneck friends who happened to be the Art Teacher in the elementary school. She used to take her kids to Harbor Island beach every year to do sand casting at the water’s edge. She introduced me to her class saying: ‘This is my friend Mrs. Desmond. She’s working to get our beach clean so we can swim again’. The kids looked at me quizzically and asked: ‘What beach?’. I will never forget that.”
We will forever be indebted to Katherine for her passion and activism in getting Mamaroneck Harbor on the road to recovery.
To understand the historical water quality for their favorite beach, SoundHealthExplorer.org continues to be the best tool. The past 5 years of Harbor Island Beach data rates as a B-.
Additionally, Save the Sound is now measuring the ecological health of Mamaroneck Harbor. As part of our bi-annual Report Card, grades are given on Long Island Sound regions. Our staff spearheaded a new collaboration, where data is being collected with comparable procedures in twenty bays and harbors. Save the Sound tested 7 stations in Mamaroneck Harbor and two in rivers that flow into the Harbor during 2017. Testing nitrogen, phosphorous, dissolved oxygen, chlorophyll a and seaweed abundance will allow us to understand what fish and aquatic life are experiencing, so they can thrive in the future.
In September 2017, Save the Sound reached a settlement with the Village of Mamaroneck to fix sewer lines leaking raw sewage into Long Island Sound and local waterways. Mamaroneck is required to make repairs to its sewage system to fully comply with the limits of the Westchester County Environmental Facilities Sewer Act by no later than the end of 2019.