County to Offer Reimbursement For Plastic Disk Spillage Clean-Up

The Westchester County Department of Health announced that partial reimbursement may be available for clean-up costs associated with plastic disks that escaped from a wastewater treatment plant.


Residents of waterfront communities like Mamaroneck, Rye and New Rochelle 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 that 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 five 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 website here or call 914-813-5400 to have an application mailed/emailed to you.

SRT November 30, 2012 at 11:20 PM
This is bizarre. Matching funds? Who are they matching? Do you have to hire somebody to pick up those pesky discs so you have a bill? I know a lot of discs were washed ashore in Sandy, if you are inland can you also get matching funds? With all the problems they have had with these discs I hope they are worth it in the long run.
irene neuwirth December 03, 2012 at 04:11 PM
lets see - i took me about an hour to pick them up. If I bill at $10/hour I can get 50 cents back which after my 44 cent stamp leaves me with a net of 6 cents. And they probably have hired 10 administrators to work on the program - gee wonder why we have such high taxes.
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