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Town of Hempstead Beef's Up Laws On Illegal Dumping In Canals and Harbors

Town of Hempstead Beef’s up laws on illegal dumping in Canals and Harbors.

The Hempstead Town Board recently passed new regulations on houseboats to cut down on illegal discharge into local harbors and canals.

Under the regulations, violations carry up to a $1,000 fine for illegal sewage discharge from houseboats and sea planes.  Boat owners can now be fined daily for repeat violators.  The board voted 6-0 with Councilwomen Erin king Sweeney abstaining, to approve four resolutions for new fines.

The fines apply to boats, seaplanes, houseboats and floating homes.  Basically, structures in waterways that may not follow town codes and may harm public wetlands.  “One of the primary goals of this legislation is to eliminate the scourge of illegal discharge of untreated sewage into waterways” Hempstead Town spokesman Mike Deery said.  Town officials said previous fines, set more than 50 years ago, started around $100 and might increase to $250 after a 15-day review and a court appearance to determine if the structure involved was a lived-in vessel or a primary residence.  Under the prior fine schedule, the resulting fine was usually less than an average rent or mortgage payment for someone living on a boat without a sewerage hookups.  The new laws would allow the town to create daily fines for a new violation.  “A small fine at the end of several months could come as the cost of doing business for some of these houseboat owners and there was no deterrence factor” Bay Constable Sgt. Matt Sohm said.

Bay Constables look for boats that are not connected to electrical or sewerage hookups or are operating in areas that may not have sewerage connection systems.  “The new fines will allow us to fully inspect each one and if not, put them in court.  It is far costlier to not comply at this point” Sohm said. “Now the boat owners might think twice about it and maybe will comply” Houseboats have been found to be in violation in some areas of Seaford and Freeport, town officials said.  The content for this article was derived from an article published in Newsday on Dec. 19th.

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