Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Holy Crap: Sewage Geysers in Gowanus

First off, we're very sorry not to have photos of last week's sewage geysers that Friends and Residents of Greater Gowanus emailed us about. (If you do, send 'em along and we'll gladly publish a photo of this phenomenon.)

In any case, you might remember the monsoon-like rainstorm during the morning commute on July 5. Well, it inundated Gowanus. Sewers massively overflowed into the canal (which happens regularly), into streets and into homes (less frequent, but not unheard of). FROGG describes three-to-five-foot geyers of sewage shooting up from the manhole covers on Bond Street. We quote:
Even that wasn't enough to release all the water pressure in the sewage system, as homes, more than a block from the canal, took on combined sewer overflow through house traps, rear-yard drains and ground floor plumbing fixtures, leaving many with several feet of combined sewer water to pump out.
Can you say, gross and disgusting?

FROGG sends this along as a way of pointing out that the effluent the massive Atlantic Yards project will spawn could leave Gowanus (and, clearly, not just the canal) literally swimming in crap every time it rains hard because the Red Hook Sewage treatment plant does not have sufficient treatment capacity to handle the project.

We're no sewage treatment experts, but FROGG points out that "while the Ratner organization is busy patting themselves on the back for a planned rain water holding lot on Pacific Street that would contain 1.8 million gallons per year, homes and buildings in our neighborhood are being used by the DEP to hold that much combined sewage water--and more--during each rain shower...1.8 million gallons per day of waste water will be added into the sewer pipes running through our neighborhood. That will make for a much dirtier mix of combined sewer waste water sitting in the basements of our homes."

A session to prepare residents to respond to the Atlantic Yards draft environmental impact statement is planned for tonight (July 11) at 7:00 at St. Cyril's Belarusian Cathedral at 401 Atlantic Avenue at Bond Street.

(The photo above of Gowanus on a rainy day is courtesy of kirby10011 on flickr.)


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