Boaters Criticize Decision To Remove Navigation Aid

Photo by Michael Comeau

Longtime sailors in our area aren’t too thrilled about the city’s plan to get rid of a 77-year-old concrete roundhouse, a part of Coney Island’s Wastewater Treatment Plant’s system that currently discharges treated sewer water into Jamaica Bay.

The roundhouse structure is a diffuser that pushes treated wastewater in various directions, and it sits just off the tip of the Manhattan Beach peninsula. The Army Corps, in conjunction with Department of Environmental Protection, will be replacing pipes that lead to it as part of an 18-month repair job, and installing new underwater diffusers that will render the roundhouse unnecessary. DEP reps said the cost of maintaining the structure outweighs the benefits to boaters as a navigational aid.

“The roundhouse is being removed because it is deteriorating,” DEP Spokesman Michael Saucier told Courier-Life.

But sailors feel a useful navigational asset will be lost.

“It’s a reliable landmark for when I’m sailing from the West End of Coney Island,” sailor and community activist Stan Kaplan told the Courier. “It’s especially useful at night because it lights up.” Kaplan also said the hulking concrete mass is a useful check against his boat’s modern gizmos.

“I’d rather rely on a fixed landmark than an electronic device that occasionally gives me misreads,” said Kaplan. “I like to know I’m in exactly the right place.”

Others were also uncomfortable with the issue, but are hoping the longtime navigational aid could be replaced.

“They should at least put some kind of a buoy there in its place,” said Bay Improvement Group member Richard Arneman.

The city did would not comment on that request.


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