Beach Mystery Came From Mamaroneck Treatment Plant
08 Mar, 2011
By Polly Kreisman and Diana Marszalek
Three days after starting to wash ashore, the small plastic disks that have been spotted on beaches from Rye to New Rochelle have been identified as non-dangerous equipment used at a local wastewater treatment plant.
“They are not toxic, they are not bad,” County Legislator Judy Myers told theLoop.
“They are plain, old plastic,” she said. “In fact, they are so plain and ordinary, they are just going to be chucked.”
County Department of Environmental Facilities crews on Tuesday started cleaning up the disks at Playland Beach in Rye and near Dog Beach in Larchmont (pictured, right), which apparently are not harmful to shoreline wildlife, and will continue cleaning as needed, Myers said.
According to Myers, the white disks – which are about one-inch in diameter and look like mini wagon wheels – are part of a new system at the county-owned sewage treatment plant in Mamaroneck. Earlier reports that the refuse came from New Rochelle was an error by a County spokesperson.
The disks are designed to reduce the amount of nitrogen that goes into the Sound.
The disks, though not chemically treated, are placed in sewage treatment tanks, where they help neutralize nitrogen in the wastewater, which, once cleaned, is released into the Sound, she said.
The rings, which started showing up on local beaches last Saturday, and washed in by the hundreds, possibly thousands, by Sunday, had not yet been used, Myers said. But they had already been placed into sewage treatment tanks, from which last weekend’s fierce rains washed them into the Sound, Myers said.
Earlier today, we reported that Loop readers, one in a comment below, had a good idea what the disks might be.
This article in the Block Island Times about a local “plastic circle invasion” describes something very similar…and in that case the culprit was a sewer treatment plant many miles away in Groton, CT.
“Groton’s plant was overwhelmed with rain, and a stainless steel screen, which was supposed to contain the cylinders, was compromised, allowing the pieces of plastic to flow out of the plant,” the March, 2010 story reads.
This is very possibly what happened to us here.