Residents of waterfront communities like New Rochelle, Mamaroneck and Rye were besieged by thousands of white, plastic disks—resembling a cross between a miniature wagon wheel and Honeycomb cereal—mysteriously washing up on shore in March of 2011.
The disks—part of the aeration tanks utilized by the Mamaroneck Wastewater Treatment Plant that work to clean nitrogen from wastewater—escaped from two of the six tanks as they were being upgraded for more advanced treatment after heavy rainfall.
Although deemed to be of no risk to public health, their presence on private property was of no small consequence to those who had to clean up the mess.
Now, more than a year after the disk’s misguided journey throughout the Sound Shore, the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities (DEF) is offering partial reimbursement to both municipalities and property owners who incurred clean-up costs between June 1, 2011 and Oct. 31, 2013.
“Applicants must provide documentation that demonstrates to the county’s satisfaction that there were, on average, at least five disks per 100 feet of property for the entire waterfront property to be eligible for matching funds. This fund has been established as part of the resolution of an enforcement matter brought by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] for applicable violations in connection with the disk release,” said a statement sent out by the Westchester County Department of Health.
Those applying for aid will be eligible for 5 percent reimbursement of their clean-up costs. According to Caren Halbfinger, a spokesperson for the department of health, the DEF has set aside $250K to pay out the claims, although it is unknown how many people are expected to seek compensation.
“DEF will provide signs to post at beaches along the Sound in Westchester, NYC (City Island), Nassau and Suffolk communities along the Sound. (This is where the disks turned up),” she said in an e-mail.
Documentation should include photographs, wherever possible. Applications will be reviewed and either approved or rejected within two weeks of receipt and reimbursement will be issued within 30 days of approval. For an application or additional information, visit the county's Web site here or call 914-813-5400 to have an application mailed/emailed to you.