The future is looking brighter — or at least less stinky — for residents near Jamaica Bay. The city has just announced the opening of a new $400 million sewage treatment plant in Paerdegat Basin, a channel that connects Jamaica Bay to the southern end of Brooklyn, located in Canarsie. The new plant will prevent up to 1.2 billion gallons of combined sewer overflows during heavy rain from being discharged into the Bay, and it is expected to reduce discharge by up to 70 percent every year. This is great news for both residents and the environment — the area is known for producing some of the foulest odors during rain storms due to the abundance of sewage overflow.
The New York Post reports that officials say the facility will significantly improve the water quality in Paerdegat Basin and Jamaica Bay by “increasing dissolved oxygen concentrations, removing plastic bottles and other floating items, and capturing up to 80 percent of “settleable solids.”
The problem originates from the effect that heavy storms have on the city’s combined sewer system, causing it to reach capacity. The system must then discharge a mix of stormwater and wastewater—called a combined sewer overflow (CSO), into New York City’s surrounding waterways. To solve this problem, the new Paerdegat Basin CSO Facility, designed by Hazen and Sawyer, will have four retention tanks that will hold sewer overflow and store 20 million gallons in connecting sewers. The facility also has a screening apparatus that will screen the flow prior to entering the storage tank. This will remove large size debris and floating items, and any other trash that may enter the sewer system. The plant will also remove CSO sediment mounds at the head of the Basin “that lowered dissolved oxygen levels to near zero and caused nuisance odors in the surrounding community.”
Cas Holloway, the commissioner of the city’s DEP, called the new plant “a major milestone in our efforts to improve water quality in Jamaica Bay.” Given the various improvements the city is working on to tackle this issue, and the numerous benefits this will have for the residents, we couldn’t agree more.