Sandy's silver lining: clean water in long-polluted LI bay

October 28, 2014 Story By: Barbara Goldberg for Reuters 
 

(Reuters) - Chris Soller headed across a Fire Island beach ravaged by Superstorm Sandy two years ago and stopped to admire the unexpected gift the deadly storm left behind: water clear enough to see the sandy bottom of the long-polluted bay.

The storm that killed at least 159 people and destroyed more than 650,000 homes when it slammed the U.S. East Coast also tore two breaches through the long barrier island that lies across the murky Great South Bay from New York's Long Island.

The gap that remains open is allowing the Atlantic Ocean to surge in and out of the bay, and the water near the breach is cleaner, with more plentiful fish, than it has been in decades.

Twice-daily tides over the last two years have flushed away suburban runoff from sewage and lawn fertilizer that sparks algal blooms known as Brown Tide and kills off underwater grass vital to marine life.

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