Monday, October 3, 2011

Small Wagon Wheel Plastic Debris Washes Up on North Shore Beaches

 Have you ever seen something like this?

 It reminded me of Wagon Wheel Pasta that I used to eat as a kid, but it wasn't pasta but white plastic.
The original Wagon Wheel pasta.
 This was Sunken Meadow Beach, a New york State Park, located just east of me on the North Shore of Long Island. The weather last Sunday was chrystal clear.
 I had walked the beach last Thursday and noticed many little wagon wheel shaped things in the high tide debris.
They seemed to be tangled in amongst every clump of reed and shells.

 They were sort of cute, but I couldn't figure out what they were, or why so many of them were on the beach.

 The little plastic disks are about one inch in diameter.  I collected them as I walked along.
From a distance the beach looks perfect,
 but taking a closer look, the little disks were everywhere.
 In just a few minutes I collected a handful.  I placed them on the front desk in the beach office.
 The first day I enquired about these little guys,the young student employees  knew nothing about them.  Later on Sunday the office director explained that they did indeed know about the disks and the beach had been checked out twice this Spring before the season started.
I learned from the Internet, late Thursday evening that they had escaped from a waste water treatment plant in Mamaroneck, NY which is about 25 miles across the Long Island Sound as the crow flies, or as a small disk would travel in water.  I have since been contacted by State authorities about these disks.  They showed up in other North Shore Beaches, including Glen Cove, and Northport.  Thousands hit Sunken Meadow after being spilled into the sound in March, but were cleaned up.  I am not sure if these that I saw were just coming in, or leftover from months ago.  These were placed in the trash can.

To read more about this spill go to :


I had been going to Robert Moses Beach all summer, which is on the South Shore and did not know about the wagon wheel disks.  It didn't take me long to find out where they came from.   Sort of ironic that they came from a waste treatment plant.


Elizabeth said...

Depressing, if you ask me!

lisa hermanson said...

Yes, it is ironic that they come from a plant to treat water - also somewhat ironic that they look like
some sort of artificial seashell!

JC said...

I was going to say it looked like a ship dropped something. Glad they found out what it was. I don't like things like that on the beach. I'm always worried about the birds.

Kat_RN said...

What a shame. Good for you, picking them up and finding the source. They can't be good for the environment.

Karen Jones said...

Just found one at the outer banks, N.C.

Karen Jones said...

Just found one at the outer banks, N.C.

Karen Jones said...

Just found one at the outer banks, N.C.

Gaye said...

We have these washing up on our beaches here in Norfolk, VA (Willoughby Spit Beach) all summer long this year. Your article has solved the mystery!

wuzzagrunt said...

I live across the road from Crab Meadow and we had tons of them wash up with Sandy. I had not heard the discs escaped from a treatment plant. Thanks for the solution to the mystery.