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Bob Banfelder

Bob is an award-winning crime-thriller novelist and outdoors writer. "The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water" is endorsed by Lefty Kreh and Angelo Peluso~online at Amazon.

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May 02, 2016

New York State DEC In Denial ~ Can All These Reporters Be Wrong? I Think Not.

by Bob Banfelder

When you make a serious allegation, you had best be ready to support it. We continue with the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant and its contribution to the continued pollution of the Peconic River. You'll recall that Joseph DiMura, Director of Bureau of Water Compliance for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, stated in his letter to Donna and me that the Riverhead WasteWater Treatment Plant (WWTP) "has never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River." In response, Donna and I sent a second letter to Governor Cuomo, in which I cite example after example to support the fact that raw sewage was, indeed, dumped into the Peconic River on several occasions. We have not yet heard back from the governor or Mr. DiMura. Below is our letter to the governor:


April 2, 2016

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of the State of New York
NYS Capitol Building
Albany, N.Y. 12224

Dear Governor Cuomo:

First off, I want to thank you and the appropriate member(s) of your administration for directing Donna's and my letter to you regarding the pollution of the Peconic River to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; namely, Joseph DiMura, Director of Bureau of Water Compliance, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Mr. DiMura's reply letter was in response to our letter to you. Mr. DiMura states unequivocally that the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) has never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River." This is simply not the case. I'll quote verbatim from the second paragraph of Mr. DiMura's letter so that there will be no confusion:

"Regarding the Riverhead WWTP, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reviewed the operation of the WWTP and has determined that it has been operating and treating sewage on a continuous basis and has never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River. [The] DEC is aware of several past exceedances of the effluent limitations specified in the discharge permit for the WWTP."

Mr. DiMura is either mistaken or flat-out prevaricating. Giving the man a bit of wiggle room, perhaps he is equivocating semantically, watering down the notion that untreated sewage is not really raw sewage. I have addressed this issue on our Cablevision Channel 20 TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, airing five consecutive Saturdays at 4 p.m. beginning today, April 2, 2016, reaching viewers residing in Wading River to Orient Point and Eastport to Montauk. Also, I maintain a monthly online report for Nor'east Saltwater (www.noreast.com). In both venues, I quoted sources from our local newspapers who stated unequivocally that "raw sewage" "untreated sewage" had been dumped into the Peconic River.

In one newspaper, The Southampton Press, is an article penned by reporter Shaye Weaver on June 3, 2015. The piece is titled Bunker Die-Off Investigated in Peconic River, Reeves Bay, in Flanders [Bay]. In the article, Ms. Weaver refers to an "incident" in which Southampton Town Trustee, Eric Shultz said that ". . . 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage from Riverhead Town's sewage treatment facility was dumped into the Peconic River last November. The sewage was just a mile and a half away from shellfish growing grounds," Shultz continued. The Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant is in proximity to its neighboring Reeves Bay, connecting Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, and beyond.

This article is in sharp contrast to Mr. DiMura's comment stating that the Riverhead Wastewater Treatment Plant has "never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River." Additionally, an article appeared in the RiverheadLocal, written by Katie Blasi on December 15, 2015, headlined Peconic River contaminated in downtown Riverhead by sewage discharge, county officials issue advisory. I'll quote directly from that article.

"In one sample of the river water in downtown Riverhead last week collected by the county, coliform levels were four times the plant's permit discharge limit, Riverhead Sewer District Superintendent Michael Reichel said today." Mr. DiMura, in his letter to us, leaves out the fact that those "exceedances of the effluent limitations" were four times greater than what the DEC permit allows.

Earlier in time (December 6th, 2014), staff writer Tim Gannon for the Riverhead News–Review wrote an article titled Riverhead sewer discharge exceeded fecal limits 3x in November. I'll quote Mr. Gannon.

"Michael Reichel, the town's sewer plant superintendent, confirmed Friday the plant exceeded the amount of fecal coliform bacteria it is permitted to discharge into the Peconic on Nov. 26, as well as two other days in November—on Nov. 5 and Nov. 19."

Given the information I have presented here, I would like you to take these specific issues and statements up with Mr. DiMura. A written response from your office that addresses these concerns and discrepancies as stated by Mr. DiMura would be very much appreciated.

Sincerely,
Robert Banfelder
www.robertbanfelder.com

Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network
Co-host Cablevision TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, every Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 20 for East End Long Island viewers.

Donna Derasmo
*******


Our Cablevision Channel 20 TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, will continue to address the water pollution issues referencing the Peconic River, beginning May 7th at 4 p.m., rerunning each consecutive Saturday in May; i.e., May 7th,14th, 21st, and the 28th. The show reaches viewers residing in Wading River to Orient Point and Eastport to Montauk. If you reside out of area, please ask a friend to tape this show for you.

For my June 1st, blog, I'll swing back in time to the upper regions of the Peconic River to show you how the United States Navy was handling the pledged cleanup operation of toxic [Volatile Organic Compounds ~ VOCs] chemicals.

Stay tuned.

We want to see more of this . . .


4- to 16-inch spring (2016) schoolies caught and released on Bob's go-to Kastmaster tin with epoxied-on eyes.

. . . not this.


Dead herring gull next to decaying fish ~ along the North Shore of the Peconic River, April 2016.

Robert Banfelder

Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Co-host Cablevision TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, every Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 20 for East End viewers.

Bob Banfelder's Nonfiction:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Small & Big Game Hunting Smart Handbook ~ Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game

Bob Banfelder's Fiction:

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist (nine novels to date). Bob weaves his love of the great outdoors through several of his novels.

Note: All synopses and summaries may be viewed on Bob's Web site http://www.robertbanfelder.com. See link for Synopses: Published Fiction & Nonfiction. A listing of Bob's entire works may be viewed under the Publications link on his Web site.




May 01, 2016

Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant ~ A Continual Source of Peconic River Pollution

by Bob Banfelder

If you have been following my monthly reports, you know that Donna and I are addressing serious water-quality matters referencing both the upper and lower regions of the Peconic River. The Peconic River is the longest river on Long Island, originating close to Brookhaven National Laboratory, flowing easterly toward several bays: Reeves Bay, Flanders Bay, Great Peconic Bay, Little Peconic Bay, and beyond. Concerning the toxic pollution issue relating to the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant, I'm sure you will recall that Donna and I wrote to and received an immediate response from Governor Cuomo, who stated that he would forward our concerns to the appropriate department. It was a signed personal letter from the governor himself.

Well over a month later, Donna and I received a letter from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Director of Bureau of Water Compliance, Joseph DiMura, P.E. (Professional Engineer). The letter was in response to our letter to Governor Cuomo. Mr. DiMura stated unequivocally that the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant [officially referred to as the WasteWater Treatment Plant (WWTP)] has never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River. Oh, really? Au contraire. I'll quote Joseph DiMura verbatim so that there will be no confusion:

"Regarding the Riverhead WWTP, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has reviewed the operation of the WWTP and has determined that it has been operating and treating sewage on a continuous basis and has never discharged raw sewage into the Peconic River."

On our Channel 20 Cablevision show for April 2016, Special Interests with Bob and Donna, we cited one of several articles to verify that Mr. DiMura's statement is simply not true. In support of that contention, I offer up facts. Example:

The Southampton Press had an article penned by reporter Shaye Weaver on June 3, 2015. The piece is titled Bunker Die-Off Investigated in Peconic River, Reeves Bay, in Flanders [Bay]. In the article Ms. Weaver refers to an "incident" in which Southampton Town Trustee Eric Shultz said that ". . . 2.5 million gallons of raw sewage from Riverhead Town's sewage treatment facility was dumped into the Peconic River last November. The sewage was just a mile and a half away from shellfish growing grounds," Shultz continued.

The Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant is in proximity to our neighboring bays mentioned in my first paragraph. Mr. DiMura is either mistaken or flat-out prevaricating. Giving the man a bit of wiggle room, perhaps he is equivocating semantically, watering down the notion that untreated sewage is not really raw sewage in his view. On our Cablevision show, I quoted several sources from newspapers who state unequivocally that "raw sewage" "untreated sewage" had been dumped into the Peconic River, period. A second letter to Governor Como documenting these facts, along with several pieces of support, was sent to the governor on April 2nd, 2016. As of April 30th, we have had no response. We'll see what happens before we take further action.

For tomorrow's May 2nd blog, I'll share the April 2, 2016 letter that Donna and I sent to Governor Cuomo in response to Joseph DiMura, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Director of Bureau of Water Compliance, in which Mr. DiMura stated that the Riverhead WasteWater Treatment Plant (WWTP) has never dumped raw sewage into the Peconic. I'll cite example after example to support the fact that raw sewage was, indeed, dumped into the Peconic River on several occasions.

In yet another article dated April 7, 2016, Riverhead News-Review reporter Tim Gannon informs the public that the Riverhead Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade has once again been delayed.

Stay tuned.

We want to see more of this . . .



8- to 10-inch—all-the-action you want—early spring 2016 schoolies (Good Friday), caught and released on the Peconic River . . . prior to a small herring-family fish die-off.

. . . not this:


By the fifth week of spring, we note a small die-off of decaying fish along our shoreline of the Peconic River: one or two decomposing fish spaced approximately every thirty or so yards.

Robert Banfelder

Outdoor Writers Association of America
New York State Outdoor Writers Association
Long Island Outdoor Communicators Network

Co-host Cablevision TV show, Special Interests with Bob & Donna, every Saturday, 4 p.m., Channel 20 for East End viewers.

Bob Banfelder's Nonfiction Handbooks:

The Fishing Smart Anywhere Handbook for Salt Water & Fresh Water

The North American Small & Big Game Hunting Smart Handbook ~ Bonus Feature: Hunting Africa's & Australia's Most Dangerous Game


Bob Banfelder's Fiction

Award-Winning Crime-Thriller Novelist (nine novels to date). Bob weaves his love of the great outdoors through several of his novels.

Note: All synopses and summaries may be viewed on Bob's Web site http://www.robertbanfelder.com. See link for Synopses: Published Fiction & Nonfiction. A listing of Bob's entire works may be viewed under the Publications link on Bob's Web site.









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