Slowdowns to eastbound traffic on Sunrise Highway from Baldwin to Bellmore during midnight hours are expected until the end of June due to continued inspection of over nine miles of aqueduct pipe beneath the highway.
Two of three eastbound lanes will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, as workers open manholes to assess the equipment that has not been used in over 70 years.
The inspection is part of the county’s Department of Public Works project to determine if the water pipe running under Sunrise Highway is fit enough to be used again to transport effluent from East Rockaway’s Bay Park sewage treatment plant to Wantagh’s Cedar Creek plant, for dispersion into the Atlantic Ocean.
The aqueduct was once the main source of drinking water for Brooklyn residents, as the Brooklyn Water Works transported water from ponds and reservoirs along Nassau County’s South Shore into Brooklyn.
The aqueduct is now seen as a future savings for the county, as past attempts to build an outflow pipe into the ocean at Bay Park have met with rejection due to cost. Because there is no outflow pipe into the ocean, like there is at Cedar Creek, secondary treated sewage is dumped into the West Bay of the Western Bays and South Shore Estuary. The dumping has prevented clamming and fish from spawning in the water.
The aqueduct project, should it be deemed viable, would eliminate hundreds of thousands of gallons of treated sewage being dumped daily into the West Bay, which instead would be redirected through the pipe to the Cedar Creek plant, and dispersed into the ocean.