By ASHLEY HELMS
The Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club was discovered to have a force-main lateral break nearby Shore Acres Beach that was leaking sewage into Long Island Sound, an issue that was discovered by Mamaroneck-based environmental group Save the Sound last week.
The break, which released an unknown amount of sewage into the sound, has been fixed as of Aug. 19 according to Village Manager Richard Slingerland but a permanent line needs to be installed because of the age and condition of the existing pipe.
Leah Schmalz, director of legislator and legal affairs for Save the Sound, said that volunteers were taking water samples around Shore Acres in order to pinpoint why the nearby beaches were often closed. Samples are measured by colony forming units of bacteria against millimeters of sea water in order to show how high contamination levels are.
After the results of the samples came back, fecal coliform levels were more than 300 times higher than the state Department of Environmental Conservation water quality criteria, according
“We realized at that point they were looking at raw sewage around that area,” Schmalz said.
The test results were reported to the village on Aug. 12, Schmalz said.
Currently, there isn’t any data on when exactly the broken pipe was installed or when it was last repaired, Slingerland said. The force-main was most likely rusted to the point of breakage and, though he didn’t see the pipe itself, the evidence of the rupture was unmistakable.
“You could see the sewage coming up from under the ground,” Slingerland said.
Once the break was brought to the village’s attention by Save the Sound, the village manager said it was recommended that the whole pipe be replaced.
“We’re working with the property owner to do a more permanent repair,” he said. “The Building Department is handling that.”
But according to resident and Shore Acres Property Owner’s Association President Dan Natchez, the pipe was installed in the 1920s without the use of a permit because such things weren’t necessarily required at that time. The line runs from Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club, which is located on 700 South Barry Ave., underneath Otter Creek to a manhole on Alda Road, where it meets a sanitary system. The break happened near Otter Creek.
Natchez said the village did not alert him or SAPOA to the break, rather he found out about the incident when he witnessed workers repairing the pipe.
“I had to pick up some papers and saw trucks and gravel and a pump-out truck,” Natchez said.
The fact that the pipe runs underneath the creek isn’t normal, Natchez said, because Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht resides in an environmentally sensitive area.
“Normally, they run it across a bridge so it could be easily repaired,” Natchez said.
The force-main pipe break isn’t the only instance of possible environmental and safety violations by the Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club.
Early last month, The Shore Acres Property Owner’s Association issued a letter to the village Planning Board saying it found a number of violations to the state Environmental Quality Review Act and village zoning code within Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club’s new amended site plan for a new yacht building. SAPOA claimed Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club has violated fire and emergency service codes, parking codes, traffic codes, sewage regulations and will create visual impact changes to Mamaroneck Harbor that were not considered on the plans if the project is seen to fruition.
Natchez said the question now is whether to replace the pipe completely or restore it where it is. Natchez said that he and other SAPOA members have said for months that the pipe was going to break.
In face of the contamination, the village did a remarkably swift job at responding to Save the Sound’s statement and repairing the pipe, according to Schmalz.
“Within 24 hours they identified the problem and shortly thereafter took care of it,” Schmalz said. “We’ve worked with a number of municipalities and this is probably the fastest turn around time we’ve ever seen.”
Also last month, SAPOA said that the 90-year-old sewage pipe running under the Otter Creek parcel is 40 years beyond its useful life. The county Health Department has cited the parcel as having high levels of fecal coliform‑a type of bacteria‑at the opening of the creek, but has not stated whether the bacteria came from the club’s sewage system.
Both Mamaroneck Beach and Yacht Club President Lisa Rosenshein and club co-owner Michelle Rosenshein were not available for comment as of press time.