Queens Horse Track Nailed on Manure Water

     BROOKLYN (CN) — The operator of New York City’s Aqueduct Racetrack headed off a court battle Friday by agreeing to settle charges that it pollutes U.S. waters with horse manure and other waste.
     The United States brought the settled complaint in U.S. District Court against the New York Racing Association.
     As many as 450 horses live at the NYRA’s popular Queens race track during pony season, culminating in the discharge of at least 1.26 million gallons of wastewater into sewer systems between 2013 and 2014, according to the 15-page complaint.
     Feds say the water contains detergent used to wash horses, as well as feed waste and horse feces. That polluted water made its way into the Hawtree and Bergen Basins, and onto Jamaica Bay, an inlet on the eastern edges of Long Island.
     Under a consent decree that has already been hammered out, the NYRA has agreed to stop discharging its waste from the track. An employee also will now be hired and assigned to make sure of it. The NYRA also must pay a $150,000 civil penalty under the Clean Water Act.
     The NYRA will also plant 62 trees near the track to capture storm water, and it must break up soil on the grounds to allow for better absorption of storm water.
     An NYRA spokesman says the situation has already been hemmed up and that they worked fast to get the job done.
     “NYRA is pleased to have worked with the EPA to obtain a satisfactory resolution of the matter and remains committed to improving the environment in and around each of its racetracks,” spokesman Pat McKenna said Friday. “NYRA worked quickly, and in coordination with the EPA, to remedy the problem by renovating its facilities at Aqueduct Racetrack to prevent future contamination and ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act.
     “This work is now completed and we are implementing all necessary steps to prevent any future discharges,” he said.
     There will now be a 30-day period of public comment and review before officials move forward with the agreed-upon consent decree.
     Assistant U.S. Attorney Deborah Zwany signed the complaint.

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