When it rains, it pours. The waterways around our fair city turn into a virtual poop soup during heavy rain season, with local wastewater management plants unable to process the deluge of sewage and rising water. Luckily, the city is planning to do something about the sewage overflow. Under a $2.4 billion proposed agreement between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, new infrastructure would be built to catch rainwater before it floods New York’s sewer system.
The recent North River Wastewater Treatment Plant fire caused quite a stir — and sent 120 millions of sewage flowing into our waterways and onto our beaches. Rather than facing another overflow problem, the agreement would incite the construction of a rainwater collection system that would surround New York. Built over the next 20 years or so, the system would integrate everything from thickly planted green roofs to specially porous pavement surfaces for public parking areas- each a small step to divert the water from the sewer, but together will truly make a difference.
If the plan goes into effect, raw sewage overflow could be reduced by 40 percent by the time the construction plan is completed in 2030. The city will plunk down $1.5 billion of its own, along with a lofty $900 million from private investments. The plan could help clean our harbor’s waters significantly, reducing sewage overflow dramatically.
Images © Charles Smith