Tiny Wagon Wheels Washed Up On Shore Harmless

The tiny wagon wheels washed up on shore in Mamaroneck, Rye, and New Rochelle have been identified as wastewater cleaning devices from the Westchester Wastewater Treatment Plant.

After thousands of small, white plastic disks washed up on shores in Mamaroneck, Rye and New Rochelle earlier in the week, many were perplexed as to what they were and where they came from. 

The Commissioner of Environmental Facilities for Westchester County Thomas Lauro released a statement indicating that the disks were from the county’s Wastewater Treatment Plant in Mamaroneck (WWTP).

According to Thomas Lauro, commissioner of the county’s Department of Environmental Facilities, the disks escaped from two of the six aeration tanks that were being upgraded for advanced wastewater treatment.  The disks—constructed of high-density polyethylene also used for making milk containers—are used to help clean nitrogen from wastewater to prevent inadequate oxygen in the Sound, and are nontoxic.  Heavy rains last Sunday caused the tanks to overflow and the disks to escape into the Long Island Sound.

Dr. Cheryl Archbald, acting commissioner of health, said that the disks can simply be thrown out, although, as with any debris, people should use gloves or wash their hands after handling the disks.

The county is currently working to retrieve thousands of the disks washed up on shores and properties in the area.

jlsteinmetz1 March 10, 2011 at 04:33 PM
Your article states that they are made of high-density polyethylene, aka HDPE plastic, aka #2 Plastic and therefore RECYCLABLE. Is any effort being made by the county to recycle them?
Stefani Kim March 10, 2011 at 04:59 PM
That's a good question—I will follow up and find out for you.
Stefani Kim March 10, 2011 at 05:02 PM
The county is planning to reuse the disks for their original intended purpose, i.e. to help clean nitrogen from wastewater at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.
jlsteinmetz1 March 10, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Hi Stefani, Thank you for your follow-up! That's good news.


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