Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Open Letter to Marty: The Crap Will Kill Our Neighborhoods

[The photo is from sailbrooklyn's flickr stream.]

While our reading of the Atlantic Yards Draft Environmental Impact Statement's section on the effluent the project will produce indicates that project backers are claiming there will be less flow if the project is built than if not, we will await expert analysis of the claim. Meanwhile, Gowanus Lounge offers an open letter to Boro Prez Marty Markowitz that came our way through a Carroll Gardens neighborhood group. It's worth a read (emphasis added by GL):
Dear BP Markowitz,

The most dangerous aspect of the FCRC Atlantic Yards Project is sewerage and adequate water drainage. They will remain with the area for generations to come. This particular concern is not one that can wait for the building to get underway. It cannot be left to the good will of the developer. It cannot be left to the devices of even public officials without regular, open public scrutiny. Why? Because it is a matter of public health and well being that will last into the next century in Brooklyn.

The current sewer/storm drain system is overloaded to the point of failure. Raw sewage pours out in storm related overflows NOW to such an extent that it is flowing through public waterways, canals, and the drainage system. Ratner has shown no realistic interest in dealing with the daily influx of nearly two million gallons of waste water in a system that is now near collapse.

The alternative is to tear whole sections of Boerum Hill and Gowanus limb from limb to create massive new sewer lines and facilities given that such is the path of least resistance. Thus the value and viability of those areas will be devastated to accommodate an expansion of the Ratner complex that even now does nothing for that community but serve as a wall to hem it off from the rest of Brooklyn.

The scale of this project is totally out of proportion to the economics and the present population of the area. The history of the builder in the area has been consistently disastrous both in terms of retail outlets and the resulting architectural impact on the AY area.

The open and immediate threat to the infrastructure has never been addressed, and cannot be left to be sorted out once the construction is underway.

Why? First and foremost because the waste water that is now out of control damages the area and reduces its value. Potentially it could become a breeding ground for typhoid, cholera, dysentery, and sundry other water born diseases that have been a prominent part of NYC's history. Adding 2 Million Gallons of Sewage to that burdensome danger is without conscience.

Even granting the billions of public dollars already on the block for this project without fiscal oversight, the problems of sewerage have not yet been factored into those numbers. Please envision the financial burden of digging up 50 or more blocks of the city to create enhanced sewer lines and then adding new sewage treatment plants.

On top of all that is the fact that these necessities will reduce a thriving, affluent, rising set of communities into valueless, uninhabitable waste lands.

This catastrophe, Mr. Markowitz, will have your name on it right at the top under Bruce Ratner, and he will have left town long before the problems start bubbling to the surface. There is no hope whatever that they will abate within the lifetime of anyone reading this letter if this project is not scaled down, got under fiscal control, and managed realistically.

Yours with fond regards,

Steven Hart, Ph.D.
Again, our own reading of Chapter 11 of the DEIS says there is no projected negative impact on the Gowanus and that the Red Hook Treatment Plant has abundant capacity to handle the increase in sewerage. We will leave it to the wasterwater treatment experts to fully digest the contents and report back on the fine print and assumptions used.


Anonymous Gavin said...

Drainage overflow isn't just the concern of those in the Gowanus and other lowland areas, either. The Atlantic Terminal Mall was flooded by storm runoff a couple weeks ago, causing the Guitar Center (and presumably other subsurface tenants) to close its main retail area while they dealt with the problem. If this relatively new, FCR-built construction next to the proposed Atlantic Yards area is already flooding, imagine what nastiness the Ratnerized future holds. Five-foot sewage geysers? Just wait. After Bruce, the deluge.

11:25 AM  

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